13 Aug 2018

Novice Māori cheese-maker wins bronze at world competition

From Morning Report, 7:56 am on 13 August 2018

A novice Māori cheese maker has won a major award in one of the world's most prestigious cheese competitions.

Zev Kaka-Holtz works for the artisan company Grinning Gecko and his kau piro cheese has just taken the bronze medal at the Nantwich international cheese show in the UK. 

Mr Kaka-Holtz tells RNZ's Te Manu Korihi reporter Eden More he started working at Grinning Gecko in 2015 simply to feed his young family.

"It's basic, I just go to jobs to feed my children and if they're proud of me then I'm happy."

He didn't start out being passionate about cheese and what he was used to was the sort you get in a Big Mac.

"At the start I just used to wash the dishes but Catherine saw something in me and let me take over the cheese making process and now it's become a passion."

According to the 30-year-old, the secret to making a good smelly cheese is aroha.

"The biggest thing I would say is to make it with love, I make the cheese like I'd be happy to feed it to my children.

"I suppose that's what makes me realise that in the whole world, if you just make something with love it can get you almost to the top," Mr Kaka-Holtz said.