A small chilli growing operation in Hokianga has proved it is extremely hot stuff.
Fire Dragon Chillies, competing against some 30 companies from Australia and New Zealand, picked up two trophies this year in the Australasian Mr Chilli Awards, to go with one awarded last year.
Fire Dragon's new Smoky Dragon Chipotle took out third best savoury chilli sauce and its Xtra Hot won second place for best hot sauce in Australasia - just one point behind the winner.
Owner Clint Meyer started Fire Dragon Chillies in 2008 as a business after many years of travelling and "getting addicted to the chilli".
"We basically started growing chillies in the backyard because we couldn't find any sauces in New Zealand that were hot enough.
"We were the first company to grow and make a sauce out of the Bhut Jolokia aka Ghost Chilli which was the world's hottest chilli until 2011."
Fire Dragon then grew the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T - the hottest chilli from 2011-2013.
"Currently we are growing more than 800 plants with 60 different cultivars of the hottest chillies on earth including the new Guinness Record holder the Carolina Reaper, which has an average heat of 1,569,300SHU (Scoville heat units) and can peak at over 2.2M SHU."
To put that into perspective a Jalapeno is 5,000SHU and Pepper Spray is 2M - 5M SHU.
"I hear we are the only chilli sauce company in Australia and New Zealand to have won three trophies so far.
"Not bad for a little chilli company from Hokianga."
- © Fairfax NZ News