From science lab to farm gate – molecular biologist joins Perrin Ag

With a background in molecular biology and hands-on farming experience, Perrin Ag’s newest consultant Sam Gray loves helping farmers boost productivity and navigate the ever-changing regulatory environment.

Sam lives in Taupō with his partner Karoline on the 56-hectare farm they purchased six years ago after they returned from Scotland. There, Sam was working as a medical researcher at the University of Edinburgh.

Sam grew up on a dairy farm in the Far North, but after completing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Molecular Biotechnology in 2005 from the University of Otago, he embarked on a path into medical research.

“I initially worked at Auckland University looking at the genetics of bone diseases and then travelled overseas. I was working at the University of Edinburgh researching in the same area, predominantly related to gout, before we returned to New Zealand,” says Sam.

“I found myself looking more and more out the window from the laboratory and wondering whether I’d enjoy working outdoors in a more practical application of my skills.”

Sam and Karoline, who is a German translator, returned to New Zealand in 2012 and went dairy farming for four years before purchasing their farm in Taupō. Before joining Perrin Ag Sam used to rear 300 beef calves each spring, selling half as weaners at 100kgs and rearing the balance through to 18 months and 600kgs.

“I love farming, but I was searching for more balance. The role at Perrin Ag allowed me to combine my science background with helping farmers,” says Sam.

“In medical research you’re often focused on a very small problem and go into massive detail picking it apart. In farming you can have 100 different problems in a day and you’re solving them as you go. At the end of the day, you can see what you’ve done, and I find that very rewarding.”

With his property located in the Lake Taupō catchment, Sam has learned first-hand how to farm under a nitrogen cap. These learnings have also helped lay the groundwork for his consultancy role.

At Perrin Ag, Sam has been helping farmers navigate complex and rapidly evolving environmental regulations from nitrogen caps to developing Freshwater Farm Plans.

“My science background means I am a very analytical thinker, but I can bring a pragmatic approach to solving problems, which I think is a really strong combination,” says Sam.

Alongside working directly with farmers, Sam is also involved in an industry project aimed at measuring the effectiveness of various mitigation strategies in reducing nitrogen loss, a representation of the type of industry research Perrin Ag is also involved in.

“A lot of farmers are feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about compliance. The work we do at Perrin Ag helps bridge the gap. We help farmers translate regulations into practical solutions that enable farmers to remain compliant while excelling at what they do best: farming,” says Sam.

“I love that every day brings new challenges and that you can see the results of the work you are doing for both the farm businesses we are working with and the land.”

Outside his role with Perrin Ag, Sam is an outdoors enthusiast enjoying the fly fishing, hunting, and snowboarding he is fortunate to have on his back doorstep.

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Lee Matheson

Tumuaki Whakahaere
Kaiwhakahaere Matua

B.Appl.Sc (Hons), FNZIPIM (Reg)

Nā tana whakapakeketanga i Pōneke i haere mai ai a Lee ki tana mahi nei. He Tāhū Paetahi Pūtaiao Otaota, ā, he mātanga hoki a Lee ki te tāhua mākete. Nā tana tūranga Pouwhakahaere e kore e kaha a Lee ki te puta ki ngā pāmu, heoi anō ki te puta atu ia ki waho, ka hākoakoa katoa ngā koko o tōna ngākau. He ahakoa kai te tari e mahi ana a Lee ināianei, kai konei tonu ia e kaha ana ki te tohutohu ki te arahi ki te tuku i ana matauranga rautaki a pāmu , ona whakaaro auaha, ana matauranga a Kāwanatanga, te mātai whakangao me te rangahau ohaoha ki ngā taringa pakiki.

A waho atu i a Perrin Ag, he tangata aroha ki te whakaako whutupōro, te mātakitaki i ana tokotoru e pakeke tupu ana me te ngaki māra tahi me tana hoa rangatira a Haidee.

"E aroha ana ahau ki te whakamana i ngā tāngata i o mātau wāhanga tuatahi me te ngahau o te kite i ngā kiritaki e tutuki ana i a rātau hiahiatanga. Mēnā ka taea e tātau te whakahauhau i nga kaiahuwhenua kia whakauru ki o rātau kiritaki, kia nui ake te whakauru hohe ki a rātau mekameka putanga me te tirotiro i a rātau umanga mā tētahi arotahi whānui ake, kātahi ka whakaaro ahau he nui ake te wā e heke mai ana a tātau mahi."

Hoera Hensman

Mātanga Hāpai

BApplSc(Ag), MNZIPIM

I tīmata te āro atu o Hoera ki te ahuwhenua me tana whakatipu i runga i tētahi paraka 1,000-hectare o te Teihana Kereru e pūrua ana ki ngā Awhe Ruahine. I haere tonu a Hoera ki te whiwhi i tētahi Bachelor of Ag Science i te Whare Wānanga o Massey, e whakatakoto ana i te tūranga mo tētahi mahi i te wāhanga tuatahi. I muri i tētahi mahi pāmu, neke atu i te 12 tau o te wheako ngaio, ka uru a Hoera ki Perrin Ag i te tau 2024. Ko te kaha o Hoera ki te whakaaro i waho o te pouaka me te whakamana i ētahi atu kia ako me te tipu, ko te tikanga kua tino whakaritea ia ki te whakahaere i te whakahaere pāmu me te whakaritenga rautaki. Kua uru a ia i mua ki te whakarei me te tautoko i ngā rōpū whakahaere Māori mā ngā kaupapa whakahaere pāmu nui. I waho o te wāhi mahi, he tangata whānau a Hoera, ā, e hiahia ana ki ngā ngohe pēnei i te maunga, te tramping, me te whaiwhai. E noho ana i roto i tētahi 'whare tamariki' me te whakahaere i tētahi mahi pāmu iti, e hiahia ana a Hoera ki te nui haere o te kai nunui me te āwhina i te tāngata kia mārama ki hea mai ai a rātau kai – i a rātau e pupuri ana i ana pūtu kia poke. "E āwhina ana ahau i ā mātou kiritaki kia hīpae atu i tō rātou tūturu ia rā, me te titiro ki ngā mea mā tētahi arotahi whānui ake. E mōhio ana ahau ki nga whakamātautau hauora hinengaro e anga ana ki ta tātau umanga me te hiahia ki te pupuri i te toitūtanga o to tātau whenua me to tātau iwi. E hiahia ana mātau ki ngā mahi pāmu e whakaū ana i te angitu mo te wā roa me te kore tūkino i te oranga o nga kaiahuwhenua."

Chaylee Thomson

Kaiāwhina Nui

Na nga pakiaka o Chaylee i te Bay of Plenty, i reira a ia i tipu ake ai i runga i tētahi paraka āhua noho, ka whakaoho i tana tūhononga mo te roanga o te rohe. Ināianei i Rotorua, he tino nui tana mahi ki te tautoko i to mātau Tumuaki Whakahaere, a Lee Matheson, mā te āwhina i a ia ki te whakangāwari i te whakaurunga pakari o ngā tāngata me ngā kaupapa i muri, i tua atu rānei i te kēti pāmu.

Neke atu i te tekau tau te wheako hei Kaiāwhina Nui me te Kaiwhakahaere Office, he tohunga tino whakaritea, he tohunga mātauranga hoki a Chaylee. E hira ake ana a ia i roto i te whare pātahitanga, te whakahaere wā, me te whakatau raruraru. He maha nga wāhanga o tana mahi rerekē, tae atu ki te mātauranga, te kāwanatanga, me te iwi, e whitu tau te wheako e mahi ana i te Pāremata mo Aotearoa Tuatahi.

I waho o te mahi, ka ārahi a Chaylee i tētahi āhua noho hohe. E hiahia ana a ia ki te whakapau wā ki waho, e haere ana, e mahi ana i te whare tākaro, me te whakamihi i nga wā me tana tamāhine.

"I tāia ahau ki Perrin Ag nā te tīma whakaharahara, whakatapua hoki. Ko te mahi me tētahi rōpū ngākau tūmanako, he whakaawe, he whakahauhau."

Mikaera Booth

Mātanga Hāpai

B.Com Af (FM)

Ka kawea mai e Maika he taonga o nga pūnaha hangarau me nga pūnaha miraka kau ki Perrin Ag. I muri iho i tana mākatanga ki tētahi Bachelor of AgriCommerce mai i Massey, ka tīmataria e ia tana mahi ki a DairyNZ hei āpiha kōrero i reira i whakahaere ai ia i ngā rōpū kōrero, a, ka whakahaere i te whakahaere pāmu.

I mahue i a ia a DairyNZ ki te haere i te ao, engari i roto i ētahi marama ka patua e Covid, ka kati nga taitapa, a, ka hoki mai a Maika raua ko tana wahine ko Nikita ki te kāinga. I muri i Aotearoa, ka tangohia e ia he tūranga whakahaere i nga pāmu kaupane a DairyNZ i runga i nga Hauraki Plains i mua i tana uru ki Halter.

I muri i tana whakaotinga i tana OE, ka hoki mai a ia ki te kāinga kia noho i Papamoa, a, ka uru ki te tīma Perrin Ag i te wā o Hui tanguru 2024.

"Ehara ahau i te tangata e hiahia ana ki te noho tonu, ā, e hiahia ana ahau ki te ako tonu. I kite ahau i tētahi wā me Perrin Ag. He umanga a rātau kaupapa mo te whakapai haere tonu me te akoranga. I ngā wā katoa he huarahi hōu, pai ake hoki te mahi i ngā mea, ā, me noho tātau ki te aronga o tērā mō ā mātou kiritaki."

Abbey Dowd

Kaiwhakahaere

B.Ag.Sc (Hons), MNZIPIM

I uru a Abbey ki Perrin Ag i te wā o Hui 2023 hei wāhanga o te hōtaka tono mātauranga o te umanga, o Empower.

I tipu ake a Abbey e karapotitia ana e nga pāmu miraka kau i roto i tētahi iwi tata i Waikato ki te Tonga. I kite a ia i te tuatahi me pēhea te tautoko a nga kaiahuwhenua o te rohe i tōna iwi, koia ia i whakaawe ai i a ia ki te ako i te Whare Wānanga o Lincoln.

I nga wā katoa e mīharo ana te tipu ake i roto i tētahi iwi ā-taiwhenua o Abbey i nga wā katoa e hia nga kaiahuwhenua o te rohe e āwhina ana ki te iwi. I pīrangi a ia ki te āwhina ki te whakahoki ki te umanga me te tākaro i tētahi wāhanga ki te āwhina i to mātau wāhanga tuatahi kia whakaputa tonu i te kai kounga i runga i te āhua mārō.

I te tau 2022, i pau i a Abbey te raumati hai takawaenga i runga i tētahi o nga mahi miraka tauhokohoko tuatahi a Aotearoa. Ko tana kaupapa Honours e rangahau ana i te miraka deer i te taha o ētahi atu mahi miraka tūturu ake, me te arotake i ngā āheinga whakanao o te umanga miraka.

"I te tipu ake kaore ahau i noho i runga pāmu, engari i mōhio tonu ahau e hiahia ana ahau ki te mahi i te wāhanga pāmu. I pīrangi ahau ki tētahi tūranga i reira he toenga i waenganui i te mahi me te pāmu, ā, ka taea e au te tautoko i nga kaiahuwhenua kia whiwhi ai i te pai rawa atu i a rātau umanga."

Sam Gray

Kaiwhakahaere

B.App.Sc(Hons), MNZIPIM, ASNM

I tipu ake a Sam i runga i te pāmu miraka kau i te Raki Tawhiti. I muri iho i tana whiwhinga mai i te Whare Wānanga o Otago i te tau 2005 me tētahi tohu Honours i roto i te hangarau hangarau rāpoi ngota, he maha nga tau e mahi ana a ia i roto i te rangahau rongoā i Aotearoa me Pākehā. I a ia e hoki ana ki Aotearoa i te tau 2012, e whā nga wā i pau ai i a ia te pāmu miraka kau i Te Whenua o Raki i mua i tana hokonga i tētahi paraka 56 ha i Taupо, i reira ia i kitea tuatahitia ai ki te pāmu i raro i te pū hauota. I uru a Sam ki Perrin Ag i te tau 2023, ā, ka mauria mai ōna pūkenga kaha e whakatūria ana e tētahi huarahi hāngai ki te whakaoti raruraru. I waho o te mahi pāmu me te tohutohu, tērā pea ka kitea e koe e rere ana a ia i te hī ika, te whaiwhai, te papa huka rānei.

"He tokomaha nga kaiahuwhenua e rongo ana i te uaua i mua i te huringa tere o te whenua mana. E tautohe ana ahau ki te āwhina i nga kaiahuwhenua kia mārama he aha te tikanga o ēnei ture taiao mo a rātau umanga, me te tuku rongoā māia e āhei ai rātau ki te mahi tonu i ā rātou mahi tino pai, i a rātau e noho tautuku tonu ana".

Danni Armstrong

Kaiwhakahaere pūtea

Pakeketia a Danni i te pāmu kau i Atiamuri ka noho hoki mō te rima tau hai pou hāpai kūtētē kau. He ahakoa tana mahi pāmu ehara i te mea ka noho motuhake ki tēnei mahi, ka aro atu hoki ki te rīhi motukā, ki te hauora me te mahi moana. He kaha tana aronga ki ngā take whakahaere me te tiaki moni, mātua ko te manaaki me te atawhai i ngā tini manuhiri ka whakatata mai, ka rua ko te tiaki i te taha ki te ao hangarau pēnā me ngā whārangi pāpāoho ki te ao hou ko te whakahaere tuku motukā, ā, tae rawa ki ngā kaupapa ako, te whakarite rōhi -a-mahi, H&S me te whakatika hapa. I whakapiri mai a Danni ki a Ag i te marama o Mei 2021, he ahakoa he tauhou he mātanga ki tōna ao pākihi koi i tāhuri mai ia ki tēnei whānau.

He wahine pānui pukapuka me ōna ngeru, he wahine takahi whenua haere ngāhere.

“I runga i ngā tini kaupapa whakawetewete, ara ake ai ahau ia rā ia rā – kāre i tua atu i te whakamutunga o aku mahi tatau kia ea ai– e whai tūranga mana ai taku tu ngātahi me tēnei tīma”.

Duncan Walker

Tumuaki
Kaiwhakahaere Matua

B.Appl.Sc, MNZIPIM (Reg)

I te haerenga mai i tētahi papamuri pāmu maroke me te miraka kau, i nga wā katoa e hiahia ana a Duncan ki te tipu i nga umanga o te wāhanga tuatahi. Ahakoa he pāmu tawhito, he ngahere, he pūtea penapena rānei i waho o te kēti pāmu, ko te mahinga pakihi tūturu ko te hiahia o Duncan. I muri i te mākatanga mai i te Whare Wānanga o Massey me tētahi Bachelor of Applied Science i Agribusiness, ko te wā tuatahi o Duncan ki te arotau i tētahi umanga pāmu mā te mahi i tētahi tahuringa miraka kau. Na te kaupapa Duncan i whakahaere te tahuringa, a, ka haere tonu te whakahaere i te pāmu miraka kau mo te toru tau anō.

Mai i te hononga atu ki Perrin Ag i te tau 2011 ka mahi a Duncan me te whānui o ngā kiritaki tae atu ki ērā 'i waho o te kēti pāmu'. Mā tōna papamuri kaha i roto i te tātari pūtea penapena, te rautaki pakihi me te whakahaere kaupapa, kei te nui haere te mahi a Duncan me ngā kiritaki ki te tātari me te whakauru i ngā pūtea whenua me ngā pūtea rākau ki roto i ā rātou umanga pāmu.

“Ko te hāpai o ōku hoa me te arataki i a rātou me ngā kōpikopikonga huhua o te ao hou taku oranga ngakau. Kia tū rangatira ai rātou, he aha i tua atu!”

Lee Matheson

Tumuaki Whakahaere
Kaiwhakahaere Matua

B.Appl.Sc (Hons), FNZIPIM (Reg)

Nā tana whakapakeketanga i Pōneke i haere mai ai a Lee ki tana mahi nei. He Tāhū Paetahi Pūtaiao Otaota, ā, he mātanga hoki a Lee ki te tāhua mākete. Nā tana tūranga Pouwhakahaere e kore e kaha a Lee ki te puta ki ngā pāmu, heoi anō ki te puta atu ia ki waho, ka hākoakoa katoa ngā koko o tōna ngākau. He ahakoa kai te tari e mahi ana a Lee ināianei, kai konei tonu ia e kaha ana ki te tohutohu ki te arahi ki te tuku i ana matauranga rautaki a pāmu , ona whakaaro auaha, ana matauranga a Kāwanatanga, te mātai whakangao me te rangahau ohaoha ki ngā taringa pakiki.

A waho atu i a Perrin Ag, he tangata aroha ki te whakaako whutupōro, te mātakitaki i ana tokotoru e pakeke tupu ana me te ngaki māra tahi me tana hoa rangatira a Haidee.

“Kai reira kē te ihi o taku mahi, ko te whakarangatira i ngā tangata mahi tahi pēnei i a tatou me te whakaputanga o ngā apataki ki te ao marama i runga i ngā whakatutukitanga a wō rātou tumanako-ā-ngākau. Mēnā tatou e tāea ki te whakaakiaki i ngā tangata pāmū ki te hono ki wō rātou kiritaki, me te ū a ringa raupā nei ki te ara whakaputa, me te titiro whānui ki tā rātou pākihi , ka harikoa katoa ahau i te mōhiotanga he ao ki tua mō tēnei tūmomo mahi”.