You’ve never seen cheese roll like this before.
The Southland Cheese Roll is an annual community event by New Zealand Red Cross, and unless you’ve been before it’s probably not what you’re thinking.
Contestants bring along their fastest, most reliable, ornately-decorated cheese-carrying cart to transport a small cube of cheese (cheese provided by the organiser) down the hill in New Zealand’s only cheese cart race. There are tons of amazing prizes up for grabs for winners. Cheesy grins guaranteed.
The racing is full of intrigue - who will win, who will finish, and perhaps most fun of all, who will come unstuck.
Next event date: 20 November 2022
Keen to learn more: www.redcross.org.nz
The course runs down the straight part of the Lee St, the street that weaves its way up the famous Motupōhue/Bluff Hill, from where you can take in majestic views of the Southland region. But watch out for the camber! Will your Feta Ford survive to the bottom?
Entrants compete in three categories: Babybels for children aged 12 and under, Mature for those 13 years and over, and a section for families, groups and corporates to go in together - aptly named Platters.
The category winners then square off against each other to crown the year’s ‘Big Cheese’. A free-for-all, No Rolls Barred Finale for all contestants wraps up the racing for the day.
And for anyone thinking of rolling up un-Brie-fed, or thinking they’re gonna cream the opposition, there’s a few rules (the Fon-Do’s and Fon-Don’ts) you need to know. The main one being that gravity is the only method allowed to propel your Alfa Reggiano downhill.
While it could seem a little cheesy from the outside, the message underneath is an important one – are you prepared for an emergency? New Zealand Red Cross’ Disaster Welfare and Support Team will be on hand to chat about being ‘Good and Ready’.
So what kind of wheels are best suited to transport cheese? Skateboards, an L&P bottle, a homemade tricycle, an ab roller, model cars, Tonka trucks - even a ‘Chuber’, which is a cheese uber - have been used to differing degrees of success.
It’s a serious business. All Cheese-mobiles are displayed prior to the race and checked by a scrutineer. Follow the rules or be e-Limburger-nated.
If cheese carts rolling down a hill is likely to make you Blue, there’s Stil-tons (okay, we’re stretching it a bit here) of fun to be had at the event. Southland cafés will compete to be crowned Southland’s Cheese Roll Champion by a panel of judges. And of course, their delicious cheese rolls will be available to buy. Just don’t let the kids take them on the bouncy castle!
To those entering all we can say is gouda luck and take it (ch)easy!