Hastings secondary school students are on a mission to find one particular person among the 1.4 billion people in China without knowing that person's name or location.
The motivation behind the "The Amazing China Face Race", organised by Hastings councillor Kevin Watkins, is to kindle teenagers' interest in China and its people.
Students are halfway through the world-first competition which sees students solving daily clues in an effort to discover the face's identity and win a two-week trip to China.
All the clues have a geographical, historical or social angle, which meant the competitors will learn a lot about China as they progress, he said.
"The first 30 clues will knock out the regions in which the "face" does not live, after which the clues will focus on getting the teens closer and closer to the target person.
"Students are encouraged to use 'all their wits' to be the first to identify the 'face'," said Mr Watkins.
"We are trying to get the students in all our secondary schools to understand the people, the culture, the modern China," he said.
A social studies teacher at Karamu High School Robyn Lambert said the competition offered students an exciting opportunity to learn about the wider global community.
"They're keen. They want to be forensic scientists and this is just a little bit of excitement and a challenge, like a treasure hunt. And it gives them something to extend their thinking and ideas," she said.
Karamu High School Student Mason Templeton said the competition was a great opportunity to put his research skills into practice with China being an important topic to learn about.
"We do have a standing free trade agreement with them ... and quite a few people from China do come over to New Zealand so I think it's quite important to learn about them as well," he said.
Mr Watkins said there was strong support for the competition in China from Guangxi Hongda Assets Services, which is the major sponsor.
A Chinese owned vineyard in Hawke's Bay, Paritua Vineyard, is also sponsoring the competition along with Air New Zealand.
As well as sending a student on an accompanied 10 day trip to China, the competition will see the face brought out to Hawke's Bay. Chinese media in New Zealand and China had expressed interest in covering the two trips.