Hope Mauchline and Trudy Laan

Perrin Ag Scholarship 2020 winner

Whanganui teen excels in agribusiness with help of scholarship

Hope is currently in her second year of extramural study, majoring in farm management. The scholarship will contribute to her course fees for 2020, with an opportunity to undertake practical work experience at one of Perrin Ag’s offices.

Hope finished correspondence school at the tender age of 16 and was awarded the prize for top student in agricultural and horticultural science. She is now on track to graduate with her degree at only 19 years of age.

In fact, Hope was awarded the 2019 Massey Agriculture Academic Prize. The honour is reserved for the top first year student academically within agriculture, agricommerce, horticulture and equine disciplines, based on their first semester of study.

While Hope’s family aren’t farmers, she has always loved animals and being outdoors, so a career in agriculture was always on the cards.

“When I finished school, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do,” says Hope. “I did contemplate becoming an accountant, but now I’m confident that a career in agriculture is my true calling.

“I’m truly grateful to the team at Perrin Ag for this scholarship. Financially, it’s huge boost for my studies, but I am also looking forward to learning more from them about what a job in agribusiness might entail.”

 When she’s not studying, you can find Hope helping out on a dairy farm in Bunnythorpe, near Palmerston North – the experience she says has cemented her passion for the industry.

“It has been good to get some practical experience and test out whether I could see myself having a career in agriculture,” says Hope. “I love getting hands-on, helping with milking, working with young stock, spraying and pulling weeds, as well as driving tractors, among other things.

“Once I finish my degree, I’m looking forward to finding a position in the industry where I can make a positive impact in agriculture.

“I’m excited about the idea of helping farmers increase their efficiency and production, which can lead to better returns and opportunities for growth. I would also like to help find solutions for reducing farmer debt and increasing the adoption of new technology so our primary sector can grow.”

As well as her dedication to education and farming, Hope helps out at the Whanganui Aeroclub, where she flew solo for the first time at the age of 16, under the instruction of her father. She also volunteers at her local church.

In awarding Hope the scholarship, Perrin Ag Director Trudy Laan says the team was impressed by her dedicated work ethic, outstanding academic results and passion for the New Zealand agriculture and horticulture industries.

“Hope is a self-motivated, disciplined student excited to join the primary sector and play a part in its future,” she says.

“Her understanding of the issues facing agriculture and farming in New Zealand, and desire to combine on-farm experience with theoretical knowledge, made her a stand-out.

“The New Zealand agricultural sector needs young talent to thrive. This scholarship is one way we can help aspiring Kiwis kick-start their career in our industry. We are thrilled to award this year’s scholarship to Hope and are excited about her future potential.”

Perrin Ag is a full-service agribusiness advisory and management consultancy firm, servicing clients around New Zealand from its offices in Rotorua and Palmerston North. This is the fifth year the firm has offered the scholarship. It is offered annually to promising individuals to continue their agriculture or horticulture studies at either Lincoln or Massey Universities. For more information about our scholarship programme, click here.



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.”