Meet Cathy Lang

Master Cheesemaker, Eltham, Taranaki
Cathy Lang at NZ Champions of Cheese Awards 2022

My fascination for cheese making started from a young age when I went on a school trip to the local Dairy Factory in Brightwater, South Island. I remember standing around a vat full of cheddar curds while the cheese maker explained how it was made, giving us all a taste of unsalted curds (which by the way none of us liked, things are always better with some salt).

I spent many years working in Animal Health at Veterinary Laboratories starting as a lab technician, then moving into Customer Service Management, and onto the role of General Manager for a private laboratory. 

I enjoy the science of cheese making but it’s the craft that always brings me back – I love that each cheese maker can develop their own style.

When I took a more serious interest in cheese making, I completed a Farm House Cheese Making course at Melbourne University, another of their courses in Specialty Cheese Making, and recently a Cheese Science Course through the University of Cork, Ireland.

I’ve now been making cheese for about 18 years and I’m currently in the role of Master Cheesemaker for Fonterra in Eltham, Taranaki. I’m very proud to say that since being in this role we’ve seen the award tally increase, which has been a highlight of my career - and of course winning NZ Champion Cheese maker for 2022!

I really love the people I work with and the cheese we create. It’s wonderful being able to share my knowledge, seeing the results once the cheeses have matured, and being able to gather feedback directly from our team.

My proudest achievements to date would be designing and starting my own cheese making business, Cloudy Mountain cheese, going onto win several local and international awards and having my cheese written about in a World Cheese Book by Patricia Michelson.

I recently went on a trip around Europe which started in Geneva, Switzerland where I joined a small group of cheese professionals and set off to visit cheese making businesses high in the Alps of the Jura and Savoie regions.

I watched traditional cheeses being made in small copper vats over fires while outside small mobs of cows grazed the summer pastures their bells ringing as they munched the grass.

One thing that stood out from my trip was seeing the cheese makers in France using New Zealand rennet from Eltham, Taranaki. That made me smile.

In June 2023, I travelled to Stafford, England where I was a judge at the 127th International Cheese & Dairy Awards. The International Cheese and Dairy Awards is the biggest cheese and dairy competition in the world attracting over 5,500 entries from world class producers of cheese and dairy products each year.

Inside the judging halls were tables and tables laden with perfectly arranged and numbered cheese samples, ready for judging. The halls were chilled to around 15 degrees and we were given specific areas and classes to judge. We began making our way through each individual cheese entry sniffing, squeezing, tasting, admiring, and scoring each cheese entry accordingly.

I began by judging the mature cheddar class with my co-judge Marian Pusey (Executive Director SDT) and we tasted our way through many entries discussing the merits of our chosen best then agreeing on our final picks. Then we went back through the entries again to concur on the best of each class and brought these cheeses to the “top” table for further assessment.

What was very obvious to me from the samples we were tasting was the most tastiest, rich and naturally yellow coloured cheddars tasted like home. I could have sworn that our top scorers had to be from New Zealand – later I discovered that some of these were actually Irish Cheddars, this made perfect sense as Ireland has a very similar climate and farming techniques to that of New Zealand.

To my utter shock and delight, FBNZ Bridge Streets’ Kāpiti Kikorangi Blue Cheese was announced Reserve Supreme Champion of the competition. This was our big moment, second in the world! I was extremely proud and rushed up to receive this most honorable award on behalf of our team at Bridge Street, Eltham.

The following day I arrived at the show which was now open to the public and I walked around the cheese halls looking for our Bridge Street entries. I was very happy to see that our new Kāpiti Artisan range had won medals.

At around midday more announcements were made of all trophy and cup winners. This was a very exciting moment as there were another 3 Silver Cups presented to Fonterra Brands New Zealand for Kāpiti Kikorangi Blue (Supreme Champion Reserve in show, Champion Overseas cheese, Best Blue cheese, Best semi-soft, soft cheese), plus several Gold, Silver & Bronze Medals. Fonterra NZMP won a trophy for its Mozzarella having the longest stretch (2.7 metres) and trophies for Cheddar and Processed Cheese.

I received these trophies together with our Europe Fonterra team members Alex Hume, George Abbott, and Tym Mackett, exciting and proud moments for all of us.

See Cathy’s full list of achievements below:

Supreme Trophies

MilkTestNZ Champion Cheesemaker – Cathy Lang, Fonterra Co-operative Group

Category Trophies

2022 Dominion Salt Champion Export Cheese Award – Kāpiti Kikorangi Triple Cream Blue

2022 Ecolab Champion Blue Cheese Award – Kāpiti Kahurangi Creamy Blue

2022 Tetrapak Champion Retail Pack Cheddar Cheese – Mainland Tasty Light (Noble)

2022 CHR Hansen Champion Soft White Rind Cheese – Kāpiti Akatea Brie

2022 Thermoflo Champion Washed Rind Cheese – Kāpiti Rarama Washed Rind

2023 Thermaflo Champion Washed Rind Cheese – Kāpiti Rarama Washed Rind

2023 Ecolab Champion Blue Cheese – Kāpiti Kahurangi Creamy Blue

2023 New World Cheese Lovers Choice – Kāpiti Kahurangi Creamy Blue

2023 Rutherford & Meyer Chefs’ Choice – Kāpiti Bridge St Blue

2023 Filtercorp Champion New Cheese – Kāpiti Ash Rind White

2023 Dominion Salt Champion Export Cheese – Kāpiti Kanuka Smoked Havarti

2023 Tetra Pak Champion Retail Cheddar – Kāpiti Te Tihi Premium Aged Cheddar 

2023 Big Chill Champion Fresh Flavour Added Cheese – Kāpiti Kirīmi Chilli & Garlic Triple Cream Cheese


Kāpiti has received an amazing 21 medals (10 Gold, 8 Silver & 3 Bronze) and Mainland received 11 medals (6 Gold, 2 Silver & 3 Bronze) making our cheese some of the most awarded cheese in New Zealand.

International Dairy & Cheese Awards and Reserve Champion Overseas Cheese 2021 – Kāpiti Kahurangi Creamy Blue 

Reefers 90 Best overall New Zealand Cheese - Kāpiti Kahurangi Creamy Blue