The Plunket Shield is one of New Zealand's oldest sporting competitions.
The shield itself was donated by Lord William Lee Plunket, New Zealand's twelfth Governor, in 1907, and is considered the most beautiful sporting prize in New Zealand.
Canterbury was the first choice to hold the shield, which was promptly lost to Auckland in the first challenge match.
In 2016/17 the competition bookends the home season and comprises a series of 10 rounds, each of the three matches per round played over four days. The New Zealand first-class season concludes in early April.
If two or more teams are equal on points at the completion of the series of 10 rounds, the winner is decided by the most outright wins or, if still equal, then by the higher net average runs per wicket.
Defending champions Auckland Aces were runaway champions last season, claiming the Plunket Shield with a round to spare.
They then narrowly failed to complete a rare unbeaten season as the Central Stags handed them their only loss in the final session of the final round of the season.
2015/16 Auckland Aces
2012/13 Central Stags
2011/12 Northern Districts
2009/10 Northern Districts