Points are earned during the competition based on the following schedule:
All teams will advance to Round Two. The top three teams in each pool advance to the Meads Cup, while the bottom three teams enter the Lochore Cup.
All competition points from Round One carry over to Round Two, and the competition points earned in both rounds will determine the teams that advance to the semifinals of each Cup in Round Three. The top four teams in the Meads and Lochore Cup competitions at the end of Round Two advance to the semifinals.
The Heartland Championship is contested by the following teams:
|Province||Super Rugby Partner||Hometown||2007 Placing (Pools)||2007 Placing (Cup)|
|Buller||Crusaders||Westport||2 (Pool B)||5 (Meads Cup)|
|East Coast||Hurricanes||Ruatoria||6 (Pool B)||5 (Lochore Cup)|
|Horowhenua-Kapiti||Hurricanes||Levin||6 (Pool A)||6 (Lochore Cup)|
|King Country||Chiefs||Te Kuiti||3 (Pool A)||6 (Meads Cup)|
|Mid Canterbury||Crusaders||Ashburton||1 (Pool A)||2 (Meads Cup)|
|North Otago||Highlanders||Oamaru||1 (Pool B)||1 (Meads Cup)|
|Poverty Bay||Hurricanes||Gisborne||4 (Pool B)||1 (Lochore Cup)|
|South Canterbury||Crusaders||Timaru||5 (Pool B)||2 (Lochore Cup)|
|Thames Valley||Chiefs||Paeroa||5 (Pool A)||4 (Lochore Cup)|
|Wairarapa Bush||Hurricanes||Masterton||2 (Pool A)||4 (Meads Cup)|
|Wanganui||Hurricanes||Wanganui||3 (Pool B)||3 (Meads Cup)|
|West Coast||Crusaders||Greymouth||4 (Pool A)||3 (Lochore Cup)|
Prior to 2006, East Coast, North Otago, Poverty Bay and Wanganui competed in Division Two of the NPC, alongside Counties-Manukau, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu, Nelson Bays and Marlborough (all promoted to the Air New Zealand Cup, Nelson Bays and Marlborough merging to form Tasman). The remaining teams competed in Division Three of the NPC.
|Year||Meads Cup Winner||Lochore Cup Winner|
|2006||Wairarapa Bush||Poverty Bay|
|2007||North Otago||Poverty Bay|
For past winners of lower divisions of the NPC, see National Provincial Championship.