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A panel of 20 judges narrowed down winners of 15 categories and two Supreme awards, to be announced in the coming weeks.
A new innovation category encouraged manufacturers to be creative, producing flavours ranging from marmite with cheese and crackers to kimchi and peanut.
Chief judge Jackie Matthews said New Zealand ice cream was world class, and it was good to provide a challenge to makers.
"There were some very tough decisions. They were of very good quality and it was very hard to discern the differences between some of them, so we really had to think about it," she said.
The novelty category also allowed entry of hand-held ice creams in cones or on sticks for the first time.
Matthews said New Zealand's average yearly consumption of 25 litres per person made them good critics.
"The New Zealand ice cream market is quite well-developed, and New Zealanders do know what good ice cream is, and a lot of what we saw was really world class," she said.
Medal winners will be announced on 22 August and Supreme winners will be announced at an awards gala in September.