Perrin Ag’s newest appointment strengthens the firm’s government sector expertise

Perrin Ag’s newest consultant brings government sector experience to the firm as it continues to help inform policy decisions that affect our primary sectors.  

Born and bred in Tauranga, Courtney Stone (24) has a double major in Environmental Science & Physical Geography from Victoria University, and a certificate in Intermediate Sustainable Nutrient Management from Massey University.

She has experience with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in cross-cutting policy work, making her adept at problem solving and communicating complex information to government agencies and sector groups.

Before joining Perrin Ag, Courtney was a Sustainable Land Use Systems Advisor for MPI in Wellington. Now, she is part of the team that works beyond the farm gate to help shape the systems and policies that directly affect what happens on farm. Courtney has an interesting way of describing her role.

“It’s about providing insight and carrying the voice of our farmers and growers into discussions about the future of our sector. When government and regional councils come to Perrin Ag, they want to know how their policies and processes will stack up in the on-farm world. They have the bones of an idea, but they’re looking to Perrin Ag to flesh it out and see how it might work in a practical sense.

“My job is largely project work involving research into farm systems and future farming opportunities as well as connecting with key stakeholders. I have also been working with industry groups and agribusinesses to contribute to thought leadership and future farm systems analysis.”

Courtney explains that the Government often doesn’t have the resource or in-house expertise to carry out specialised research, so it turns to experts like Perrin Ag to help them inform policy development.

“The information can be very technical and very dense. My job is to take into account the current environment and future direction of the sector and apply a strategic perspective to inform policy makers and their decision making. In that sense, I get the chance to guide the direction of a policy in ways that help farmers.”

Perrin Ag Principal Consultant Carla Muller was instrumental in recruiting Courtney to the team.

“Courtney stood out because her thought processes are considered and logical, but she can also think outside the box and challenge our own thinking,” says Carla. “She cares about outcomes and has passion and drive. It’s hard finding people like that, people you can give a client’s problem to knowing they will give you a high-quality solution. Courtney is that person.”

At Perrin Ag, analysing complex material and forming conclusions is a team job. They often brainstorm and test ideas with each other. It’s an approach that resonates with Courtney.

“I’ve played team sports most of my life, so the idea of people having different roles but working together is normal to me. So, I love the collaboration at Perrin Ag. If I bring my work to the team, they’ll ask, ‘Have you thought about this?’ or ‘But what about that?’ There’s quite a bit of spit-balling that goes on to make sure we land on the best ideas and solutions for our clients.”

At times, finding answers to get the best outcome for its clients requires the Perrin Ag team to do more than data analysis. Assumptions may need to be challenged or existing processes questioned to open the way for creative options. Both come naturally to Courtney.

“I loved physics when I was younger because I wanted to understand systems and how things worked. I can’t help asking ‘Why is that the way we do things? Do we have to do it that way?

“That’s a big part of what drew me to the ag sector. There are lots of opportunities for innovation. A client will come to us with a problem and give us the freedom to explore ideas and come up with a solution. I see the value in that which is why I’m passionate about this sector.”



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

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

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.”