The Great Eketahuna Cheese Festival 2018



Eketahuna Community Centre

Sunday 13th May, 3:00 - 4:30pm              

A light-hearted talk & tasting by cheesemonger Calum Hodgson (open to the public, gold coin donation).

With some special surprises for curd nerds.


Eketahuna Community Centre

Monday 14th May 9.30am  - Opening

Hon Damien O'ConnorMinister of Agriculture and Minister for Biosecurity, Food Safety, and Rural Communities will be opening the festival, and has an exciting package announcement from MPI.

From thereafter the Eketahuna Community Hall will be open to the public to taste & purchase New Zealand artisan cheese.

The hall will be buzzing with artisan cheesemakers, selling their cheeses to the general public.  Come & talk to the cheesemakers, taste & purchase cheese, & enjoy a market day style atmosphere. $5 entry to public.


Eketahuna Community Centre

2:30pm - 2:40pm

Speaker: Biddy

Topic: light hearted introduction to cheese making

Attendance: new cheesemakers and would-be cheesemakers. Open to the public & any cheesemakers & anyone who have registered to attend seminar sessions.  


Afternoon Seminars – “cheese talk.” 

2:45pm – 5:45pm

Speaker Line Up

John King - lives in Christchurch. He travels all over NZ to talk/teach groups and individuals to manage their lives & businesses holistically. He writes about holistic farming & how such beliefs challenge conventional farming business & resource management.

Topic:  John will speak about Who Moved my Cheese & the nature of change farmers engage with as they challenge production systems.


Gabrielle Kervella - In January 2008, Gabrielle stopped goat cheese making in Australia after 30 years and theoretically "retired" to Golden Bay, but yes, she's cheese making again...

Topic: Gabrielle will be speaking about how she established herself in a market that initially was not keen on goat cheese, to winning overall best cheese in Australia twice, and turning her farm bio dynamic & the benefits & finishing in 2008.


Doug Edmeades - a soil and agricultural scientist . His focus today is to bring to the NZ farmer independent, objective, science-based solutions in the area of fertilizers, soil fertility and pasture nutrition. He believes that the voice of science must be asserted against pseudo-science that pervades society. 

Sadly, Doug has just been admitted to hospital & will  be unable to take part in the festival. We wish Doug all the best with his treatment.   

Topic: TBC


Nick Haddow - a lively fellow and the first raw cheese maker registered in Australia. He is currently setting up a farm in Tasmania, funded by public subscription, where old cow breeds, such as Swiss Brown and Australian Dairy Shorthorn cows can be milked for their cheese making potential.

Topic: Nick will talk about his Bruny Island story, and why raw milk cheese has so much going for it.


Gill Palmer - a principal consultant of Palmer and Randall Ltd and she is a cheese auditor and has specialist knowledge of HACCP as applied to cheese auditing. She is also on the technical committee of the UK Specialist Cheese makers Association. This is her first visit to New Zealand.    


Dr Paul Neavesa UK dairy microbiologist with a special interest in raw cheese manufacture from Artisan cheesemakers. He is chair of the UK specialist cheesemakers association technical committee & a Fellow of the UK Institute of Food Science & technology and he has vast experience in sorting out cheese related problems.


Topic: Gill Palmer & Paul Neaves will talk about how the UK SCA came about and what it does today.  You will also hear about SCA & how it teaches Environmental Health Officers (and HRH The Prince of Wales) about the enormous range of variations in production methods that result in the delectable characteristics we enjoy so much.


Craig Prichard - an associate Professor of Management at Massey University and has a special interest in the breeding of dairy sheep in New Zealand.

Topic:  Sheep breeding for milk or topic relating to his work as associate professor of the Massey school of management. Followed by open discussion.


Colleen Dennison - a founding member, many years ago, of Evansdale cheese in Dunedin. A business that has grown from a single family Jersey house cow in 1978 to a household name in cheese production. Today they process 1500 litres of milk a day to make "a little taste of perfection" with between 20-30 different varieties of cheese. It is still owned by the same family.

Topic: TBC


Finish with a Panel Discussion and closing words

5:50pm – 6:45pm

Networking session.

7:30pm - Dinner at the Eketahuna Inn 

Sorry, unless there are cancellations, dinner is now fully booked.

(it is also Biddy’s 76th birthday celebration ... just quietly).

There will be soup/nibbles for starters, a good country roast meal buffet, with vegetarian
options, followed by a choice of desserts. All for $65.00 per person.


MPI are launching their new Food/Cheese Plan Template at the festival and will be speaking on this during the seminar session.


Contact Us: Elizabeth Fraser-Davies (Biddy), General Enquires.