Gayle Newman - Perrin Ag

A passion for farming & its people

Gayle Newman was born in Dannevirke and spent her childhood holidays on the family farm. Safe to say agriculture is in her blood.

As well as an in-depth knowledge and understanding of farming, Gayle has a natural way with people. A skill she put to good use during her time in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Now as Perrin Ag’s finance and client services manager she is well known for fostering relationships centred around trust – a value that is a cornerstone of the firm’s way of working.

As the self-confessed “farmer’s wife” of the team, Gayle manages the firm’s books and keeps everything running smoothly. She joined Perrin Ag in 2015. Since then, her role has been ever evolving, balancing client services and financial responsibilities, while often acting as the facilitator between farm managers and Perrin Ag’s team of agribusiness advisors.

Gayle believes these interpersonal relationships are important when it comes to supporting farm managers, particularly those who are finding industry change challenging.

“The agriculture industry is experiencing unprecedented challenges and rapid change,” says Gayle. “From labour shortages and environmental compliance to animal welfare and rising input costs. For some, this can all be hugely unsettling. If I can be an ear and help ease that burden, I will.”

Gayle’s colleagues and her clients appreciate her as much as she does them, often calling her for “a chat and a catch up,” knowing that she will be there to listen and provide valuable advice.

“I really enjoy the contact with the farm managers. Over the years, I have built some amazing friendships and working relationships with these fantastic people,” she says.

Empowering others to streamline processes and giving clients the added confidence to utilise new systems has been one of Gayle’s career highlights.

“It’s all the little things that make the difference, even as small as using a spreadsheet to do something, rather than having it handwritten.

“It’s important to keep up with industry happenings and embrace change. The industry is growing and evolving; we have got to adapt and move with it.”

After more seven years navigating the agricultural industry, Gayle feels a shift in what has traditionally been a male dominated industry. She is happy to see more women working in leadership roles.

“Women make great leaders and are very well rounded when it comes to delegation, getting things done, and understanding the intricacies of people,” she says.

“When you’re running a busy farming operation and all the demands that come with it, it can be stressful. You need a strong leader that has got those quality interpersonal skills.

“The power of women lies in multitasking, managing, and in-depth surveillance of the issues that lie below the surface.”

A keen mountain biker, when Gayle isn’t working, she hits the trails. She also bikes 20 kms to and from work – a habit that punctuates her day and does wonders for her mental and physical fitness.

“It’s really nice to be able to ride home through the forest, clear my head and get home relaxed and happy.”

Gayle’s commitment to her local community is evident. She is a member of a local mountain ladies biking group in Rotorua, set up to encourage a broader demographic to get out on Rotorua’s world class trails, and has been a volunteer at Crankworx since its inception.

She is also a board member of Leave No Trace New Zealand (LTNZ), an organisation that seeks to educate Kiwis and tourists about how to interact with the environment. Using seven principles, LNTNZ encourages people to slow down and appreciate everything New Zealand has to offer.  

“Community is important. It supports who we are, both as individuals and a collective and is something to be proud of,” says Gayle.

“Through my work at Perrin Ag and within my community, I can put my hand up and say that I have changed a person’s perception of what they can achieve – something that I am sure flows through into other parts of their life.”



Lee Matheson

Managing Director
Principal Consultant

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

Lee came to agribusiness consultancy via the unlikely pathway of a suburban Wellington upbringing, an Honours degree in plant science and a six-year career in the financial markets. In his role as the firm’s MD, Lee doesn’t get out on-farm as much as he used to but makes the most of it when he does. While having swapped the paddock for the boardroom, Lee continues to provide advice in the areas of farm business strategy, farm system innovation, corporate governance, investment analysis and economic research.

Outside of Perrin Ag, Lee loves to spend his time coaching rugby, watching his three kids play sport and gardening with his wife Haidee.

“I love the challenge of empowering people in our primary sectors and the excitement of seeing clients achieving their aspirations. If we can encourage farmers to engage with their consumers, take a more active involvement in their supply chains and view their businesses through a wider lens, then I think our industries have a great future.”

Michael Booth

Consultant

Mike brings a wealth of agri-tech and dairy systems expertise to Perrin Ag. After graduating with a Bachelor of AgriCommerce from Massey, he started his career with DairyNZ as a consulting officer where he ran discussion groups and managed farm supervision.

He left DairyNZ to travel the world but within a few months Covid hit, the borders closed, and Mike and his wife Nikita returned home. Back in New Zealand, he took up a role managing DairyNZ’s monitor farms on the Hauraki Plains before joining Halter.

After finishing his OE, he returned home to live in Papamoa and joined the Perrin Ag team in February 2024.

“I’m not someone who likes to sit still and I like to be continually learning. I saw an opportunity with Perrin Ag. As a business their ethos is about continuous improvement and learning. There are always new and better ways of doing things and we need to be at the forefront of that for our clients.”

Abbey Dowd

Consultant

B.Ag.Sc (Hons), MNZIPIM

Abbey joined Perrin Ag in February 2023 as part of the firm’s graduate recruitment programme, Empower.

Abbey grew up surrounded by dairy farms in a close-knit community in South Waikato. She saw first-hand how local farmers supported her community, which is what inspired her to study at Lincoln University.

Growing up in a rural community Abbey has always been impressed by how much local farmers contribute to the community. She wanted to help give back to the industry and play a part in helping our primary sector continue to produce quality food in a sustainable way.

In 2022, Abbey spent the summer as an intern on one of New Zealand’s first commercial deer milking operations. Her Honours project was researching deer milk alongside other more traditional milking operations and assessing the deer milking industry’s future production possibilities.

“Growing up I didn’t live on a farm, but I always knew I wanted to work in the farming sector. I wanted a role where there was a balance between working on and off farm and where I could support farmers to get the best out of their businesses.”

Sam Gray

Consultant

Sam grew up on a dairy farm in the Far North. After graduating from the University of Otago in 2005 with an Honours degree in molecular biotechnology, he spent several years working in medical research in New Zealand and Scotland. Upon returning to New Zealand in 2012, he spent four seasons dairy farming in Northland before purchasing a 56 ha block in Taupо̄, where he was first exposed to farming under a nitrogen cap. Sam joined Perrin Ag in 2023 and brings his strong analytical skills that are grounded by a pragmatic approach to problem solving. Outside of farming and consultancy, you’ll likely find him fly fishing, hunting or snowboarding.

“A lot of farmers feel overwhelmed in the face of a rapidly changing regulatory landscape. I strive to help farmers understand what these environmental regulations mean for their business, and offer practical solutions that allow them to keep doing what they do best, whilst remaining compliant”.

Danni Armstrong

Finance administrator

Danni grew up on a life style block in Atiamuri and spent five seasons as a relief milker in the area. During this time, her full time roles were in various fields including the rental car, health care and marine industries. Danni has had a focus on administrative and accounting duties, but is also proficient in looking after customers especially well, social media and website operation, running a rental car fleet and the associated tasks like training, rosters, H&S and organising repairs! Danni joined Perrin Ag in May 2021, to be part of a business in an industry she is passionate about.

During her spare time Danni can be found reading a book with her cats or out enjoying the walks in Rotorua’s Redwoods.

“What motivates me each day is knowing that I will be challenged with a range of problem solving tasks. I love to see all the figures adding up and knowing that my role makes a difference to the team.”

Duncan Walker

Director
Principal Consultant

B.Appl.Sc, MNZIPIM (Reg)

Coming from a drystock and dairy farming background, Duncan has always been passionate about growing primary sector businesses. Whether it’s pastoral farming, forestry, horticulture or investments outside the farm gate, sustainably optimising business performance is Duncan’s passion. After graduating from Massey University with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Agribusiness, Duncan’s first opportunity to optimise a farm business was by undertaking a dairy conversion. Duncan project managed the conversion and continued to run the dairy farm for a further three years.

Since joining Perrin Ag in 2011 Duncan works with a wide range of clients including those ‘outside the farm gate’. With his strong background in investment analysis, business strategy and project management, Duncan is increasingly working with clients to analyse and integrate horticulture and forestry investments into their farm businesses.

“I enjoy helping clients navigate through the complexities of today’s operational, financial and environmental challenges. Seeing clients achieve their goals is very rewarding”

Lee Matheson

Managing Director
Principal Consultant

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

Lee came to agribusiness consultancy via the unlikely pathway of a suburban Wellington upbringing, an Honours degree in plant science and a six-year career in the financial markets. In his role as the firm’s MD, Lee doesn’t get out on-farm as much as he used to but makes the most of it when he does. While having swapped the paddock for the boardroom, Lee continues to provide advice in the areas of farm business strategy, farm system innovation, corporate governance, investment analysis and economic research.

Outside of Perrin Ag, Lee loves to spend his time coaching rugby, watching his three kids play sport and gardening with his wife Haidee.

“I love the challenge of empowering people in our primary sectors and the excitement of seeing clients achieving their aspirations.  If we can encourage farmers to engage with their consumers, take a more active involvement in their supply chains and view their businesses through a wider lens, then I think our industries have a great future.”