More than 70 works from about 50 potters around the country are being prepared for judging, display and sale at the Quarry Arts Centre in Whangārei.
They are entries in Northland Craft Trust's Open Ceramics Awards, the second year running for what is set to become an ongoing annual event.
The award winners will be announced on Friday after being judged by a renowned New Zealand potter whose name is being kept under wraps at this stage, the trust's deputy chair Bronwyn Dalley said.
Trust members and Quarry Arts Centre staff are in the process of unpacking dozens of cartons and bubble-wrapped works of ceramic art and setting them out.
The exhibition of those entries will run in the Yvonne Rust Gallery from Friday until September 28.
It is hoped the pottery competition, which also attracted 75 pieces for last year's inaugural outing, will in future attract work from overseas as well as from this country's best ceramic artists.
The first prize is $1000 with second place earning its maker an annual membership to the National Society of Potters.
As every judge will have a different eye for a winning item, the organisers hope to invite a different one each year.
Last year they gave the task to acclaimed Auckland potter Peter Lange (NZOM).
Whangārei potter, multi-award winning Greg Barron's wood-fired porcelain piece won the Premier Award, with Lange describing it as having an elegant form and beautiful surface.
There were meant to be two merit prizes but Lange could not exclude one of three pieces that took his fancy and added a third prize on the spot.
He said he had a 50:40:10 "template" for assessing a piece.
"Fifty per cent is the covet test. Do I want to own it and how greedily? Forty per cent is the test of time. Will I still want it in 30 years? Ten per cent is for technique. I'm a bit of a sucker for technique,'' he said.
"I don't necessarily look for good taste or virtuosity. I like evidence of hand, clay and fire - all three if possible."