Learn about

The Team Who Deliver You The Perfect Sawmill

Our Story

History of the original designers of the commercial swingblade sawmill

The exciting story of the Peterson family business started over 30 years ago in 1989, when Carl Peterson sold his first portable swingblade mill. Even though it was only a basic version, it was a true invention – the world’s first commercially available portable swingblade sawmill! A machine that combats the issues of portability, limited cut sizes, blade costs, time efficiency and durability.

“Today we promote a range of the most versatile portable sawmills in the world. From the highlands of Papua New Guinea to the snow peaks of Alaska, we make machines that are versatile, practical and efficient. And we continue to lead the world in innovation, listening to our customers’ needs and making it easier than ever to achieve them” – Kerris Browne, CEO

Get to know

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 and feel free to contact us at anytime.

Kerris Browne (nee Peterson)


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 Chris Browne,have 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 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.

Chris Browne

Factory Manager/Sawmill Specialist

Born 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 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 into 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. He began helping Carl part-time in 1991. 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, cycling, fishing, cruising on his motorbike, watching sport, or cutting up logs with his personal sawmill.

Aaron Kalan

Sales Manager/Senior Mill Consultant

Aaron is our Senior Mill Consultant, having worked here since 2006. He has worked in the timber industry for more than twenty years and brings a wealth of industry knowledge to Peterson’s. Before he started with the company in 2006, his previous industry work experience included timber machinist, grinding room technician, and Manufacturing Coordinator.

Away from Peterson HQ, Aaron enjoys spending time with his family in the world famous Redwood mountain bike trails, and supporting his 2 athletic teenagers at hockey and rugby tournaments. When he’s not working around their rural property, Aaron will be out hunting, fishing, camping, trail riding – anything to do with the outdoors!

Greg Sheehan

Mill Consultant

The great outdoors, beautiful lakes and great trout fishing, were some of the reasons Greg moved to Rotorua in the early 1990’s. He has been a banker, sports good retailer and specialised engineering client manager. Greg is strongly focused on customer care to provide the best support to all our customers. He works with Aaron in the Sales office, handling new enquiries, and working with Peterson agents all around the world.

Greg and his family enjoy living in the country, with expansive views of Lake Rotorua and the city. When he gets time, Greg loves to chase the huge trout in our many lakes. Visitors to Rotorua often lure him out, so if you are coming to Peterson HQ and want to catch the big one… Greg would be keen to join you.

Joyce Ranapiri

Office Manager

Joyce has been with the company since 2001, and rejoined the Peterson team in 2012 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. Joyce is the person you deal with when ordering a sawmill, and she will look after everything from transit insurance, payment details, and sending you an operating and maintenance DVD with your new mill.

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

Marama has been with Peterson’s since 2001 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 eight grand children. Three of her adult children have their own homes and families, but there seem to be gatherings at mum-and-dad’s whare most weekends. If Marama wants to do something for herself, she goes for a run in the forest with her “running family”.

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!”.

Blake Evans

Markteing Manager

Joining us early in 2024, Blake has taken over the role of Marketing Manager. Blake was born and grew up in Rotorua, and has previous experience in sales and marketing. He is currently in his last year of studying, nearing completion of a Bachelor of commerce with a major in marketing, and a minor in management.

Away from work, Blake has a huge passion for motorsport – competing from the age of six years old in karting. By ten years old he had already placed second in the New Zealand Karting Championship, before making the transition to car racing at thirteen. He went on to win the 2018 Formula First Winter Series, and placed second in class in the 2021 New Zealand Formula Ford championship.

Among other projects, Blakes role is to create new creative content for Petersons social media channels.

Polly Nicholls

Personal Assistant

Polly joined the Peterson Team in 2020 as a PA to Kerris. Her role is varied and includes writing technical manuals, database entry, preparing agreements, looking after agents, implementing a new stock system and making a great coffee. She also supports the day-to-day management of social media and cross-channel content. Polly is often reffered to as our MVP (Most Valuble Player) as she is also currently taking on the role of our Spare Parts & Accessories Advisor.

In her spare time, Polly enjoys spending time with family, doing DIY projects around her home and restoring old timber furniture to re-sell. Check her out on Instagram @flippingpolly.

Marlena Martin

Rep Liason Facilitator

Marlena is Marama’s daughter. She has been working for Petersons on and off since 2004 in different roles. Her current role involves acquiring Peterson rep agents and distributors around the world.

With twenty years work experience in various industries including tourism and hospitality, marketing and administration, brain injury rehabilitation and healthcare, banking and insurance in Australia, youth leadership development, fashion design and modelling; Marlena brings a unique perspective and many transferable skills to her role as Rep Liaison Facilitator. She has also has three Diplomas in Communications, Fashion Design, and Te Reo Maori.

Outside of work Marlena has three children who are her world. She enjoys running with Arsh, Kerris, and Marama as part of Kerris’ running group; sport, reading, writing, sewing, personal development, and family time.

Paul Crompton

Factory Foreman

A 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!

Our community is not just our team...

Speak to Peterson Sawmill owners near you

If you’re researching a sawmill purchase, the best people to speak to are those who operate the machines on a regular basis. The millers in our Owner’s Network have made themselves available to you to ask questions by phone or email, and some of them even offer private demos and open days at their milling sites.

Can't find an owner on the map?

Some owners aren’t publicly listed. Reach out to us, we’ll check our records and connect you with owners in your area.

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Looking for our sawmill prices?

Peterson Portable Sawmills manufacture and export worldwide from our factory in Rotorua, New Zealand. Encountering fluctuating freight, raw materials, currencies and export costs, therefore we have tailored pricelists pertaining to each country.
We also have over 40 different mill configurations to suit all applications, so it often helps to call and speak to us about your particular needs.

If you would like to recieve a copy of our digital Info Pack and Price List, please click here.