Joel Hensman, Senior Consultant

From Injury to Insight: helping farmers see the bigger picture

A life-changing cricket injury forced Joel Hensman to step out of his daily routine and adopt a broader perspective on life. A skill, he believes, is also essential for farmers.

As Perrin Ag’s newest Senior Consultant, Joel is dedicated to helping clients see the bigger picture of their businesses and make informed decisions that support both their operations and personal well-being.

Joel Hensman’s journey into agriculture began on Thorn Flat, a 1,000 hectare block of Kereru Station backing onto the Ruahine Ranges. This upbringing instilled in him a deep connection to the land and laid the groundwork for his future in New Zealand’s primary sector. Joel went on to earn a Bachelor of Applied Science in Agriculture from Massey University, which further solidified his passion for farming.

“I help our clients step out of their daily realm and look at things through a broader lens. When you start talking to farmers about their goals and then look at what their long-term vision is, sometimes the two don’t align,” says Joel.

Balancing his recovery from severe post-concussion syndrome after being struck in the head with a cricket ball during a social match taught Joel to prioritise what truly matters.

“Part of my recovery was figuring out what’s important – simplifying life and doing the things we often push down the road,” he explains. This experience gave him a fresh perspective and a holistic approach to farm consultancy.

“I am acutely aware of the mental health challenges facing our industry and the need to maintain the sustainability of our land and our people. We want farm practices that ensure long-term success without compromising farmers’ well-being,” says Joel.

Sometimes, these crucial conversations are best had in the everyday environments of farmers. “I am the kind of consultant who’s happy to get on a handpiece in the woolshed alongside a farmer if that’s a better place to have the conversation,” he says.

With an abundance of data available to farmers today, Joel highlights the importance of effectively interpreting this information. “Sometimes just having the skill to look at the farm data and see what can be tweaked is a big part of aligning goals with the long-term vision,” he adds.

Joel’s ability to think outside the box and empower others to learn and grow makes him well-equipped to manage farm supervision and strategic planning. He has been involved in enhancing and supporting Māori-led organisations through farm supervision and major development projects, further showcasing his versatile skill set.

Joel’s family reassessed their lifestyle following his injury, embracing minimalism by moving into a tiny house on 12 hectares of leased land near Palmerston North, where they graze dairy heifers. This change has allowed them to focus on what truly matters – spending quality time together and maintaining a balanced life.

“I’m not advocating for everyone to move to tiny house living, but it’s where we ended up when we started assessing our life alongside our career and family goals. It’s about taking a broader look and being open to alternatives,” says Joel.

When he’s not at work, Joel enjoys mountain biking, tramping, hunting, and spending time with his family. Living in a tiny house and running a small farm operation, he is passionate about growing great food and helping people understand where their food comes from – all while keeping his boots dirty.

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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.”

Joel Hensman

Senior Consultant

BApplSc(Ag), MNZIPIM

Joel’s interest in agriculture began with his upbringing on a 1,000-hectare block of Kereru Station backing onto the Ruahine Ranges. Joel went on to earn a Bachelor of Ag Science at Massey University, laying the foundation for a career in the primary sector. On the back of a farming career and with over 12 years of professional experience, Joel joined Perrin Ag in 2024. Joel’s ability to think outside of the box and empower others to learn and grow, means that he is well equipped to manage farm supervision and strategic planning. He has previously been involved with enhancing and supporting Māori led organisations through major development farm supervision projects. Outside of the workplace, Joel is a family man at heart and enjoys activities like mountain biking, tramping, and hunting. Living in a modest ‘tiny house’ and running a small farm operation, Joel is passionate about growing great food and helping people understand where their food comes from – all while keeping his boots dirty. “I help our clients step out of their daily realm and look at things through a broader lens. I am acutely aware of the mental health challenges facing our industry and the need to maintain the sustainability of our land and our people. We want farm practices that ensure long-term success without compromising farmers’ well-being.”

Chaylee Thomson

Executive Assistant

Chaylee’s roots in the Bay of Plenty, where she grew up on a lifestyle block, sparked her lifelong connection to the region. Now based in Rotorua, she plays a crucial role in supporting our Managing Director, Lee Matheson, by helping him facilitate the seamless integration of people and projects both behind and beyond the farm gate.

With over a decade of experience as an Executive Assistant and Office Manager, Chaylee is a highly organised and competent professional. She excels in relationship building, time management, and problem-solving. Her diverse career spans several sectors, including education, government, and iwi, with seven years of experience working in Parliament for NZ First.

Outside of work, Chaylee leads an active lifestyle. She enjoys spending time outdoors, going for walks, working out at the gym, and cherishing moments with her young daughter.

“I was drawn to Perrin Ag because of the passionate and dedicated team. Working with such an enthusiastic group is both inspiring and motivating.”

Michael Booth

Senior Consultant

B.Com Af (FM)

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

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

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.”