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In the small south Waikato town of Putaruru, it is not an uncommon sight to see clusters of people gathered around a shop window, watching the activity inside.

People wearing hairnets and white overalls can be seen methodically carrying out the various stages of creating cheese.

The Over the Moon Dairy is the brainchild of Sue Arthur, who had no idea her small retirement plan making artisan cheese with local produce, would wind up attracting national and international recognition.

Staggered to find no industry courses on offer in New Zealand, Sue travelled to Australia to hone her craft, returning in late 2007 to set up the dairy and its affiliate, the New Zealand Cheese School, led by master cheese maker Neil Willman.

And it's not just other industry members who are now benefitting from the pair's collaboration. Many of the people stirring large stainless steel vats, cutting the curd and straining away the whey, are passionate foodies or hobbyists.Spectrum's Lisa Thompson attended a couple of recent courses, meeting those keen to master the art of cheese-making.