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Welcome to the Otago branch of the NZIC

The Otago branch covers the Otago and Southland Districts.

Recent Events

Evansdale Cheese Factory Tour - 1 May 2007

On Tuesday, 1 May 2007, members of the Otago Chapter of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry visited the Evansdale Cheese Factory, located in historical Hawksbury Village , near Karitane. Proprietor Colin Dennison shared his intricate knowledge of the cheese-making process, including a hands-on demonstration. The Evansdale Cheese Factory uses a combination of Flora danica , synthetic rennet, and proprietary bacterial cultures to produce cheeses of character.

The cheese-making demonstration began with 20 litres of heated whole milk to which rennet and cultures had been added. "It definitely smells like mushrooms," said John McAdam of the rennet.

After holding the milk rennet mixture at 38 C° for about an hour, the curd was ready to be cut (Fig 1). The curd had the sweet milky taste characteristic of young cheese, and was enjoyed by everyone (Fig 2). After more heating and stirring, the curd was transferred into cheese molds, and pressure was applied to give the cheese its characteristic "wheel" shape (Fig. 3).

The newly formed wheel of cheese will be dipped in brine and waxed, then allowed to cure for up to 18 months before it obtains the optimum flavour. Luckily, a variety of Evansdale cheeses were available for the group to sample during a pleasant morning tea in the cheese factory visitor centre. A good time was had by all.

Fig 1. Colin Dennison cuts the curd. Fig 2. Christina McGraw and Bob Cunninghame taste the curd, while Sarah Song, Kim Currie, and Kat Manno look on.   Fig 3. Sarah Song photographs a newly formed wheel of cheese.

We thank the Dennison Family and Evansdale Cheese for sharing this enjoyable experience with members and guests of the Otago Chapter of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry.

Steve Rusak

Student Prizes Awarded - 3 March

A prize sponsored by the Otago NZIC branch was awarded to Jennifer Burgass, as the best emerging researcher poster communicator, for her poster ‘the silver-alkene interaction as a supermolecular synthon: vinylbenzene based assemblies' at the Supramolecular Chemistry and Nanoscience - Towards Functional Nanostructures conference held at the University of Otago.

Further details (PDF 248 kb)

Otago Branch Members

Chair: Nigel Lucas
Secretary: Christina McGraw
Treasurer: Allan Gamble
ChemEd Group: Dave McMorran
Council Delegate: Nigel Lucas
Student Liaison Representative: To be determined
Branch Editor: Anna Garden