Our People

Our people are our best asset and we’ve got some of the best when it comes teaching you the practical and theory elements of home cheesemaking and industrial production.

New Zealand Cheese School invests heavily in the quality of our trainers, who are selected for their wealth of experience and reputation in the dairy training industries in Australia and New Zealand.

Neil Willman - Principal, Director & Head Trainer

We are delighted to have Neil as the Principal and Director of our school. Neil has over 30 years’ experience in the teaching industry for both professional and home cheesemakers. There is no other person better equipped to be our expert.

Master Cheesemaker Neil Willman was responsible for training most Australian and many of New Zealand’s cheesemakers through Gilbert Chandler College (1980 – 2005) and now operates his own consultancy business.

Head Judge of the DIAA dairy competition in Australia, Neil has been a specialist cheese competition judge since 1990 at Australian state, national and international dairy product competitions and is a regular guest cheese judge at international competitions including New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association’s  Cheeseawards since 2006 where he was previously the Master Judge for 2 years. From 2000-2006, he was chosen to operate the Australian Specialist Cheesemakers Advisory Service, to provide technical support and advice to Australia’s specialist cheesemakers.

Neil is now the honorary Principal of the New Zealand Cheese School and delivers all of the industry courses as well as some courses for the public.

In 1993 Neil co-authored and published ‘Home Cheesemaking’, a book which has now sold over 20,000 copies. His most recent book ‘Cheese – The guide to making your own’ features simplified, new and fast recipes such as 5 minute Mozzarella and 20 minute Halloumi plus lots of favourites. Buy Neil’s book for yourself or a gift for others visit our online store.

“I don’t know anywhere else I could go, at least in the Southern Hemisphere, and get that broad knowledge base.”
– Jason Chesworth, Hunter Belle Cheese, NSW

“I found it really fascinating and interesting. It gave me a really good foundation for problem solving.”
– Daniel Jenkins, Kaikoura Cheese

Sue Arthur - Director & Trainer

Sue is the inspiration behind the New Zealand Cheese School. It is her passion for cheesemaking that is ultimately responsible for it’s establishment.

South Waikato resident Sue Arthur has been surrounded by perfect dairying conditions for more than 20 years. Her surroundings inspired a passion for dairy products that saw her traverse the nation and the globe to experience, make and sample cheese.

Determined to learn more about how to make great cheese, she was disappointed that there was very limited training available in New Zealand. While she was prepared to travel to gain her education, she wanted to make it easy for others to learn. And so in late 2007 the New Zealand Cheese School and affililate artisan dairy company Over the Moon Dairy came into being.

Sue loves to be involved in the DIY Cheesemaker for a Day workshops and trains alongside Neil Willman. She is also a joint trainer for Setting up a Farmhouse Cheese Business, where participants learn from her in a case study of how Over the Moon Dairy and The New Zealand Cheese School came into being.

Grietje de Vries - Trainer

Grietje is a commercial cheesemaker at Over the Moon Dairy. G brings an upbeat ‘womens’ touch to our factory and her experience is also an asset to our students.

Grietje, or ‘G’, has been assisting the New Zealand Cheese School since 2009 as an employee and cheesemaker of our affiliate company, Over the Moon Dairy.

Grietje never imagined she would end up a cheese maker. “I really enjoy the science of cheesemaking and love to share my passion in my role as a practical assistant with the cheesemaking courses”. Artisan Cheesemaking and Cheesemakers Certificate.

Grietje is keen to keep working as a commercial cheesemaker and would like to try her palate at judging cheese.

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