My Kitchen Rules 2017 contestant and local foodie Natasha Whitewood will need to limit the number of Easter eggs she eats on Easter Sunday to save room to judge the Great Chocolate Cook-off.

The home baking competition is one of the many events during the Melt Festival of Chocolate over Easter in Rotorua.

Event creator and director Alia Ryan was excited to have the MKR celebrity as one of the judges.

"It's great to have Natasha Whitewood on board and she will definitely be a drawcard for the event. Natasha will join local cake maker extraordinaire, from Cakealicious, Sarah Tatton and Paul Hickey, from The Hits Rotorua, on the judging panel.


"We want people to have fun and experiment with their entries. The only rule is it needs to be a chocolate baked item. It can be someone's secret family chocolate recipe handed down through the generations, or their go-to brownie or chocolate cookie recipe."

Ryan said the good old Kiwi chocolate cake was sure to be a favourite dish entered.

"But our judges will also be looking for unique concoctions that make their taste buds sing. Entries are limited so we do encourage people to register early to secure their entry."

Registrations are now open.

Categories include cupcakes, cakes and cookies as well as an open division. There is no limit to the number of entries per person. The baked dishes need to be delivered to the Chocolate Festival in Kuirau Park by 8am on Easter Sunday.

Judging will take place from 9am with the winners announced at midday.

Whitewood will also be on stage at the chocolate festival on Easter Monday for a chocolate cooking demonstration.

The festival is a mix of free and ticketed events over the four days.

Free events include The Hits Cocoa Carnival street parade on Friday evening with fancy dress competition and the Rotorua Museum Easter Egg Hunt on the Sunday, and family fun at the Rotorua Racecourse on Monday.

Melt Central, the festival's ticketed area, will have chocolate themed food vendors, demonstrations and products, kids' play area, entertainment and various activities each day. It's a place to eat, drink, and enjoy chocolate.

There are still early bird tickets to Melt Central and the Chocolate Fondue Breakfast that include access to all four days of the festival.

Once these limited four-day passes are sold, daily tickets will be available.

For tickets or more information about Melt, Festival of Chocolate go to