Peterson Portable Sawmills

The Peterson Team

The Peterson Team are experienced professionals who care immensely about the success of our company and customers.

We all come from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Put a face to the name by reading our short profiles below.

Kerris Peterson (Browne) – Owner/CEO

Kerris Browne - Peterson Sawmill CEO With qualifications in Management, Marketing & Accounting, and having helped her father initially build Peterson’s for more than 10 years, Kerris knows what works for customers and what doesn’t. She and her husband have since built their own company from the ground up, expanding Peterson’s range and creating a brand that is synonymous with high quality, reliable, functional and innovative machinery. Kerris enjoys running the sawmills and building various projects around the farm with the resulting timber.

Kerris spent her younger years in the jungles of Fiji, but the family was eventually forced to flee to New Zealand in 1987 due to a Military Coup. Marrying a local “kiwi” boy Chris Browne they have successfully built both a business and a family with two children. The entire family is often seen at various sporting events on weekends. Kerris enjoys her annual road Marathon around the Lake, running ultra-marathon events in the local forests, and the odd triathlon when she can find time between businesses, family, farm, and her community coaching roles.


Aaron Kalan – Sales Manager

Aaron Kalan - Peterson Sawmills Sales ManagerAaron is the Mill Consultant to all new enquiries. Aaron has worked in the timber industry for twenty years and brings a wealth of industry knowledge to Peterson’s. Previous positions include timber machinist, grinding room technician, and Manufacturing Coordinator.

In his spare time Aaron enjoys spending time with his family in the world famous Redwood mountain bike trails or on their boat cruising one of the many lakes of the Rotorua region. When he’s not working around their rural property, Aaron will be out hunting, fishing, camping, trail riding – or anything to do with the outdoors!


Ezra Newick – Sales Consultant

Peterson Team - Ezra NewickA U.S. native, Ezra moved to New Zealand in 2012. He joined the Peterson team in 2016, the same year that he and his wife gained their permanent residency status. Ezra works closely with Aaron in the sale office, handling new enquiries, and working with Peterson Agents around the world.

In his spare time, Ezra will most likely be found either riding his mountain bike in the famous Whakarewarewa Forest, or spinning on his road bike on the quiet country roads around Rotorua. Ezra also works part-time as a photographer, shooting landscapes as well as a number of events throughout the year.


Joyce Ranapiri – Office Manager

Peterson Team - Joyce RanapiriJoyce has rejoined the Peterson team after a six year absence.  Once you have purchased your mill, Joyce takes charge to ensure your Peterson mill gets to you in good time, and in good condition. Not only that, but Joyce will be the person you deal with when making any future spare parts or accessory purchases.

Joyce was born and bred in Rotorua, and although she enjoys traveling, has not yet found anywhere else she would like to live. In her spare time Joyce likes to spend time with her family and friends and likes to relax with a good movie.


Marama Christie – Purchasing Manager

Peterson Team - Marama Christie Marama has been with Peterson’s over 10 years now and works tirelessly, always willing to help others, and always wearing a smile.

Marama happily juggles her job with three daughters, a son, a husband and two grand children! If she’s lucky enough to find any spare time she’ll usually snuggle up with a good book. Her name means ‘moon’ in her native New Zealand and if you were wondering how to pronounce it, she says, “How does a lamb go? Baa, baa. Well, for me, it’s Maa-ra-maa!”.



Rachel Browne – Accounts Administrator

Peterson Team - Rachel BrowneRachel is actually Chris’ older sister but we won’t hold that against her! Another local lass who spent a good many years of her life with the local fishing goods manufacturer, Kilwell Sports. After a brief stint in Australia with her grown daughter, Rachel returned to the greener hills of Rotorua and her fabulous partner Tony in 2014 – it may have helped that he is a great fisherman too!

Rachel initially began on a part time basis with Petersons. However her hours increased early in 2015 and Rachel now assists Joyce and Marama with anything from invoice reconciliations to packing a slabber kit for export.

In her spare time Rachel can be found with a glass of Sav and a fishing rod in her hand, or traipsing with Kerris through the forests.


Layla Robinson – Marketing Manager

Layla Robinson - Peterson Sawmills Marketing ManagerLayla has worked with the Peterson team since 2006 in various roles including demonstrating at trade shows in Australia and the USA. While in the office, she takes care of the Peterson website and social media, as well as staying in touch with mill owners through the email newsletter and assisting with quote requests.

In her own time, Layla enjoys event planning with her focus being on planning fundraising events for local charities. Layla also loves hanging out with her toddler Dexter and husband Robert, along with travel, concerts, music, movies and playing roller derby with the league she set up in 2011, the Sulphur City Steam Rollers.



Vicki Wheeler – Marketing Assistant

PetersonVicki joined the Peterson team, part-time, in 2015. She assists Layla in the Marketing department, helping with Social Media, the Great Peterson Demo Day, liaising with mill owners over various shows, and other administrative jobs – gift wrapping anyone??

Vicki is mum to two boys, who keep her busy ferrying them to various sporting and social activities. She is also a keen runner and triathlete, and enjoys nothing better than spending her time outdoors, in the forest or exploring new places on her bike.


Karen Shaw – Sawmill Marketing Journalist

Peterson Team - Karen ShawKaren has worked in the forest industry since 1991, as a writer and trainer of environmentally-sustainable work practices. In recent years, Karen has enjoyed working in the manufacturing and timber processing areas.

At Peterson’s she talks with and visits Peterson sawmill owners, writing stories to share on the website and in social media.

Karen was born in Auckland, studied in Christchurch and has spent all of her ‘grown-up’ working life in the Central North Island forestry town of Tokoroa. She enjoys off-road running adventures, and triathlon events.



Chris Browne – Factory Manager / Sawmill Specialist

Chris Browne - Peterson Sawmills Factory ManagerBorn and bred in Rotorua, Chris is a typical DIY Kiwi bloke who can fix anything. With a background in automotive engineering, heavy earth moving equipment, farming and even manufacturing for Kilwell Sports, he has a great insight to the uses and practicalities of machinery for a purpose. When Kerris ‘discovered’ him at the age of 18 and invited him along to the Peterson business, he fit in like a glove and promptly set to work making the machines more user-friendly, stronger, more reliable, and simpler to build. Chris enjoys attending shows with the mills, and takes to our Peterson owners fabulously well – he can often be found designing some new gizmo that an operator has asked for.

In his spare time (yeah right!) he enjoys distance running, biking, fishing, watching sport, or cutting up logs somewhere with his personal sawmill.


Pat Teinaki – Head Welder

Pat Teinake - Peterson Sawmills Head WelderHaving been with us now for 15 years and promising to retire here, Pat lived in Auckland in his younger days where his brother-in-law got him into the manufacturing industry. Pat learned invaluable skills making supermarket freezers for McAlpines Hussman and later welding freezer containers for Mitsubishi where he gained his welding certificates. Since working with Petersons, Pat has picked up welding skills passed on by an earlier aircraft welder at Petersons and is now the senior welder himself. Pat takes great pride in completing all the finer detail welding on our sawmills.

At home Pat has a lovely wife Tangi, daughters Nga and Reokore, and grand daughter Tanika Storm. Pat has 6 children in total and 10 grandkids, so comes to work for a break sometimes!

In his spare time, he enjoys watching sports and supports any team from Auckland.

Paul Crompton – Factory Foreman

Paul Crompton -Peterson Sawmills Factory ForemanA proper POM, Paul is from Birmingham in England. He came to NZ with his family on holiday in 2000, met Chris and Kerris, and immigrated in 2003. With a background in small part engineering and sign fitting, Paul has a great eye for detail and fine workmanship and really cares about the product the customer receives. He initially spent eight years with Petersons before temporarily trying out an alternative career. But Petersons were delighted when they managed to win him back in 2014 as Factory Foreman for good!

In Paul’s spare time he enjoys a quiet drink on his deck overlooking the beach with his lovely wife Tracey. His two sons have now grown up and have careers of their own, but enjoy popping back to relax by the seaside with their dad!

Ash Pari – Fitter’s Assistant

Peterson Team - Ash PariAt school Ash came across as the quiet shy one for the first six months, but underneath he was a social butterfly – he played every sport the school had, including haki and even chess! From there he studied hospitality but was too shy and being a boy decided to try a timber mill instead. After several years of grading and finger jointing, he moved onto manufacturing plastics at Cryovac. Unfortunately after seven years the company relocated and Ash landed in our laps (lucky for us). Kerris actually discovered him amongst her running group, and instantly took to his affable personality. At Petersons, Ash assists Paul to fit and turn the smaller components and put the mills together.

Ash has a lovely partner, Kim and 4 kids at home which keeps him pretty busy between work and running.


Anaru Hansen – Welding Assistant

Peterson Team - Anaru HansenAnaru Hansen has joined us straight out of Welding School at the tender age of 19, where he graduated top of the class. Coupled with experience in forestry contracting, he came to us with high recommendations despite his young age. Our senior welder remarked that he lays down amazing welds for someone so young. Anaru has a steady hand and an infectious smile, and is enjoying being part of the team.

In his spare time he enjoys martial arts, guitar and of course rugby. He recently competed in his first Muay Thai fights and won. First time champion! We are delighted he is on the Peterson team.