New Zealand CheeseMaster

Certificate of New Zealand CheeseMaster

An internationally recognised qualification awarded jointly by the New Zealand Cheese School and New Zealand Industry Training Organisation.

Become a New Zealand CheeseMaster and develop a sound general knowledge on every aspect of cheese.

Complete this qualification one module at a time, at a pace that suits your time and budget.

From its origins and history, the variety of cheese types, cheese making practices, ripening and maturing and sensory evaluation, a New Zealand CheeseMaster will not necessarily be a specialist in any one area, but a generalist in all.

To become a New Zealand CheeseMaster, you will complete 5 modules at your pace, with theoretical exercises being undertaken by correspondence (modules 1 and 2) and training onsite at the New Zealand Cheese School (modules 3, 4 and 5), and practical components undertaken next door at one of New Zealand’s most successful artisan cheese factories, Over the Moon Dairy Company.

A final examination will take place after completion of Module 5 and will cover material across all modules.

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This course is for:

  • Professional cheesemakers
  • Dairy industry professionals


Each Module:
Module 1 History and Types of Cheese ($435):  Enrol Now
Module 2 Using, Preparing and Cooking with Cheese ($435):  Enrol Now
Module 3 Option 1, Artisan Cheesemaking Practical ($1,700): Enrol Now
Module 3 Option 2, Cheesemakers Certificate Theory ($1,700) : Enrol Now
Module 4 Cheese Sensory ($435): Enrol Now
Module 5 Cellaring Cheese ($435): Enrol Now

Or, enrol and pay for all 5 New Zealand CheeseMaster modules: $3440


Commence with module 1 at any time. Complete module 2, 4 and 5 anytime after module 1. Module 3 dates are set annually.


New Zealand Cheese School (theory) and Over the Moon Dairy Company (practical)

33 Tirau Street, Putaruru

Please view our helpful information for students.

About Neil Willman, International Master Cheesemaker

Neil Willman has trained most Australian and many of New Zealand’s cheesemakers through Gilbert Chandler College, University of Melbourne (1980 – 2005) and since at the New Zealand Cheese School.

Neil regularly conducts training programs for Australian cheese manufacturers and for Japanese, Chinese and Korean cheese industries. Head Judge of the three largest dairy competitions in Australia, he has been a specialist cheese judge for the past 12 years at Australian state and national dairy product competitions. He is also a regular guest Cheese Judge at international competitions including New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association’s “New Zealand Champions of Cheese” awards since 2006 where for two of these years he was the Master Judge. He has judged 4 times at the World Championship Cheese Contest and once at the British Cheese Awards.

About each module

Module 1: History and Types of Cheese 

This module is completed by correspondence.

You will learn about the origins, similarities, and differences of some of the world’s most famous cheeses.

Module 2: Using, Preparing and Cooking with Cheese

This module is completed by correspondence.

This course focuses on the main nutritional components of cheese and how these translate into a cheese being ‘fit for purpose’ when cooking or serving.

Module 3: Practical Cheesemaking

Each option in this module is completed onsite at the New Zealand Cheese School.

You can choose from one of the following two practical cheesemaking courses where you’ll spend five days working alongside experienced cheesemakers in our purpose built training facility:

Option 1: Artisan Cheesemaking

More practical than theory, by Day Two you’ll be immersed in 4 days of commercial cheese production. You’ll learn the basic science behind cheesemaking.

Option 2: Cheesemakers Certificate

More theory than practical, you’ll delve into cheese science to develop a sound understanding of the principals of cheesemaking. You’ll have a chance to put this into practice with some commercial cheesemaking experience.

Module 4: Cheese Sensory

This module has an internal training element, with an assignment completed by correspondence.

You’ll learn the principles of tasting and evaluating cheese and apply them to a wide range of specialty cheeses in this 1-day course.

Module 5: Cellaring Cheese

This module has an internal training element, with an extramural assignment.

In this 1-day course you will discover the forgotten world of the cheese maturing room, cellar or cave, or how to look after your own cheeses at home.

What’s included?

  • A full set of course notes “Principles and Practice of Cheesemaking” by Neil Willman
  • Expert support and advice from Neil Willman, Honorary Principal & Director, New Zealand Cheese School
  • Examinations and assessment of all Unit Standards and assignments

Please bring

a calculator, pen and notepaper.

*Special offer: To encourage you to complete the final stages of this award, the New Zealand Cheese School offers all students completing their fifth and final module a $435 credit. This credit can be redeemed for the enrolment fee for module 5 or exchanged for a week’s work experience onsite at Over the Moon Dairy; the New Zealand Cheese School’s affiliate company. This offer is valid for anyone who has already enrolled, but not yet completed, his or her final module.

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