Scholarship Winner an Advocate for Māori Agribusiness Principles

Scholarship Winner an Advocate for Māori Agribusiness Principles

Caleb Dudin believes that the principles of sustainability and kaitiakitanga (guardianship and conservation) that are interwoven through Māori agribusiness could help New Zealand farmers future-proof their operations.

The Lincoln University student is in his final year of a Bachelor of Commerce in Agriculture and is the recipient of Perrin Ag’s 2023 John Perrin Scholarship, receiving $3,000 towards his final year of study.

While Caleb grew up on his parents’ farm in Winton, Southland, he spread his wings into sheep and beef farming. He gained experience as a general farm assistant on an 850-hectare sheep and beef operation at Dipton in Southland during the winter and university holidays.

“Mum and dad always involved us in the farm at home, so I had a pretty good handle on dairy operations, but I wanted to learn more about sheep and beef farming,” says Caleb.

It spurred him on to take forestry and water papers in his final year at the university. He has also just completed a Māori language paper, which has deepened his interest in Māori Agribusiness.

“While I’m still learning, it seems the approaches used in Māori agribusiness could be the way forward for New Zealand,” says Caleb. “We have a unique point of difference, and I am interested in the principles of sustainability and kaitiakitanga that are interwoven through Māori Agribusiness.

“At its most basic level, it’s about future-proofing our businesses for hundreds of years using a sustainable, Māori worldview approach to farming.”

Caleb says his forestry paper also illustrated to him the huge potential for sheep and beef farmers to integrate forestry into their systems.

“The key takeaway from that paper was how you can use forestry and trees and integrate them into traditional pastoral systems, not just for ETS benefit but wider environmental benefit.”

Before studying agriculture at Lincoln, Caleb had his sights set on a career in banking.

“As I’ve gone through my study, I’ve realised I want to work directly with farmers. New Zealand farming is going through the biggest change since the discovery of nitrogen fertiliser, and I want to be able to use my skills to help farmers navigate that.”

Caleb says the scholarship from Perrin Ag will help him focus on his studies and reinforces that he is on the right path.

“Throughout the application process, I had to talk about my papers, what I’m studying, and my experience. It reinforced to me that I am on the right track and that my thinking resonates with others,” says Caleb.

He hopes to pursue a career in agribusiness with a focus on sustainability.

“I want to feel like I’m doing something bigger than just working for myself and to feel like we’re doing the work as a collective, alongside farmers.”

The scholarship selection and interview process was led by Perrin Ag Directors John Perrin and Trudy Laan. They were impressed by Caleb’s passion for New Zealand’s primary industries and his drive to support sustainability in farming and Māori agribusiness.

“It’s exciting to see young people entering the industry with fresh ideas and unique skill sets to support our primary sector,” says Trudy.

“As well as demonstrating exceptional academic performance, Caleb also shares the values Perrin Ag embodies, including his eagerness to learn, his work ethic, and involvement in community sports and clubs.”

About the Scholarship: The John Perrin Scholarship is one of two awards Perrin Ag offers each year to promising individuals to continue (2nd year or later) agriculture and horticulture science studies at the undergraduate, post-graduate diploma, or Honors level at either Lincoln, Massey, or Waikato Universities.

Named after the founder and current Chairman of the company, this scholarship recognises the qualities John has brought to his clients and colleagues for so many years – passion, dedication, the pursuit of excellence, and the desire to make a positive impact on our communities.



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.”