The cream of New Zealand's rowing crop will do battle in the Christmas Regatta on Lake Karapiro this weekend, with some fascinating encounters as the build-up begins to the Olympic Games.
World Champion Mahe Drysdale faces one of his biggest tests on domestic water since his 2008 clashes with Rob Waddell, with a field that includes no fewer than five other current and former world champions.
Heading the pack chasing the in-form five time world champion will be 2011 New Zealand champion Nathan Cohen, who took his second straight world championship double sculls title this year. His crew mate Joseph Sullivan is also entered.
Sullivan is arguably New Zealand's most successful rower of recent times, having taken a world title in every one of the previous five international rowing seasons. Alongside the big three will be Robbie Manson, a former under-23 world champ, and former lightweight world champions Storm Uru and Peter Taylor.
World champions Rebecca Scown and Juliette Haigh are entered in a packed women's pair event, while the FISA crew of the year, the unbeaten Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, will compete in the men's pair. Both crews will face stern opposition in the form of squad teammates racing in pairs, and it will be a good test of how their summer training has been going ahead of the Christmas period.
Emma Twigg should have a more comfortable run in the women's premier single scull, though that event is also brimming with international Kiwi talent.