Our team is what sets Trevelyan’s apart from the rest. Their talent, commitment and expertise is what drives our unique company culture and fuels our desire to be the very best in the business. The following biographies of our key staff members highlight their national and international experience, and outline their career path at Trevelyan’s to date.

James Trevelyan

James Trevelyan

Managing Director


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In 1991, James returned home to help his parents run the family business, and later, in 2009, he assumed the role of Managing Director. His broad responsibilities include overseeing the Head of Departments in production departments crucial to the company’s success: the Head of Sustainability, the Head of Business Improvement, the Head of Operations and Logistics, the Head of Quality and Compliance, and the Chief Financial Officer.

James holds a Mechanical Engineering Degree from Auckland University; however, his knowledge of horticultural and management experience is notable. Alongside owning orchards, he deeply understands post-harvest operations and the onshore/offshore supply chain. In addition to his responsibilities at Trevelyan’s, James is an active member of the industry and community, contributing his expertise to The Trevelyan Pack and Cool Limited Board, G4 Kiwifruit Supply, various kiwifruit-related entities and two Te Puke community cycling Boards.

Further to his role and extensive experience working in the kiwifruit and avocado industries, James strongly believes in staff development, achieving excellence, and getting the job done right. He is passionate about the LEAN manufacturing methodology, which focuses on minimising waste while simultaneously maximising productivity in a measured manner. 

Stephen Butler

Stephen Butler

General Manager


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Stephen joined Trevelyan’s in 2004, initially as the Financial Controller, before being promoted to General Manager in 2009. His primary responsibilities include monitoring the business’s daily operations and ensuring they align with strategic goals. Stephen oversees the Head of Departments in productivity divisions, who are crucial to the company’s success: the Head of Human Resources, the Head of Supply, the Head of Kiwifruit Grower Services, the Head of Avocados, the Head of Technical, and the Head of Health and Safety.

Stephen’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Business Studies and a postgraduate diploma in management studies. His financial, commercial, and management experience in various corporate roles is notable. In addition to his role, Stephen sits on numerous Boards and advisory councils: G4 Kiwi Supply Ltd (Chair), TKL Logistics Ltd (Chair), Trevelyan Growers Limited, Trevelyan Avocado Growers Ltd, Trevelyan’s Managed Orchards Ltd, New Zealand Golden Kiwifruit Company Ltd, The Nutritious Kiwifruit Company Ltd, Bayfarms Ltd, No 1 Road Pollen Ltd, White House Ltd, Casuarina Orchard Ltd and The Industry Advisory Council (IAC).

Further to his role and extensive corporate experience, Stephen strongly believes establishing strong business relationships fosters trust and loyalty, which are essential for success.

Ian Coventry

Ian Coventry

Chief Financial Officer

Ian joined Trevelyan’s in 2021 as the Chief Financial Officer, pivotal in shaping the company’s financial landscape. With over two decades of experience in senior finance and management roles spanning education, research and development, agriculture and forestry, and the kiwifruit industries, Ian brings a comprehensive skill set to his role.

Ian’s academic background includes a Bachelor of Management Studies from Waikato, specializing in accounting and finance, and he is a proud member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. Beyond his responsibilities at Trevelyan’s, Ian serves as a Director of Trevelyan’s Growers Ltd, further solidifying his commitment to the company and its growth.

Besides Ian’s dedication to overseeing and optimising the financial aspects of Trevelyan’s operations and managed entities, Ian leads and develops the Finance and Payroll teams, ensuring they are equipped to handle the complex financial demands of the company, plus overseeing insurance, risk management, and internal control policies.

Debbie Robinson

Debbie Robinson

Head of Supply


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Debbie joined Trevelyan’s in 2002 and is the Head of Supply. With over two decades of hands-on Trevelyan’s experience- she has been part of the team that has grown the company into the largest single-site, post-harvest facility, packing over 10% of the national crop. Debbie’s primary responsibilities are acting as the conduit between Trevelyan and Zespri, ensuring accurate and prompt payments to the growers, and as a member of the Industry Supply Group, making tactical/seasonal decisions relating to the supply chain, quality and EDI and negotiating commercial contracts and agreements.

Debbie’s commercial acumen and academic background are significant. Debbie is involved in several Industry groups and sub-groups, including, but not limited to, NZKGI as a forum member representing KPG and OMC, the Chairperson of Women in Kiwifruit Charitable Trust and as a Chairperson of a Gold Conventional investment orchard.

Further to Debbie’s role and extensive experience, her passion is simply investing in professional relationships and sharing her knowledge and experiences; Debbie is committed to ensuring that growers views are well represented and advocated for so that their financial wellbeing is protected. 

Mike Perrett

Mike Perrett

Head of Grower Services

Mike joined Trevelyan’s in 2020 and is now the Head of Kiwifruit Grower Services. His broad responsibilities include overseeing customer-facing departments crucial to the company’s success; this consists of the Kiwifruit Grower Services team, the Trevelyan’s Managed Orchard team, and The Harvest team, all whilst managing the Trevelyan’s Kiwifruit Growers portfolio.

Mike’s orchard, horticultural and management experience is notable. For over forty years, Mike has been involved with the kiwifruit industry in various management roles and deeply understands packhouse operations, coolstorage and export business, and supply.

In addition to his role, Mike is firmly focused on building knowledge and confidence within his team. He is driven by earning the trust of growers and is committed to achieving outstanding financial results for all Trevelyan’s growers.

Daniel Birnie

Daniel Birnie

Head of Avocado


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Daniel joined Trevelyan’s in 2008 to oversee the Trevelyan’s avocado business and to develop the Avocado Grower Services Team. He has extensive experience in relationship management, avocado orchard development and in-depth industry knowledge.

Daniel holds a Kellogg Course Certificate, a Bachelor of Social Science and a Diploma in Management. Daniel’s expertise extends beyond his role at Trevelyan’s; he is proud to have served on the Board of NZ Avocado, an industry membership that keeps him deeply involved with the latest industry trends and developments, and he owns an avocado orchard in Otamarakau.

Alongside the wider Avocado Grower Services Team, Daniel focusses on maintaining strong personal relationships with the 220+ Trevelyan growers and helping them achieve their financial goals; he is the key point of contact for growers across the North Island.

Gordon Skipage

Gordon Skipage

Head of Technical


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Gordon joined Trevelyan’s in 2018 as the Kiwifruit Technical Manager and was soon promoted to Head of Technical to oversee the efficient and effective delivery of expert technical advice to both kiwifruit and avocado growers, and the Trevelyan’s team, to increase productivity and profitability. 

Gordon holds a Business Degree from Victoria University; however, his knowledge of kiwifruit has been gained by working with some of the best growers and peers across the industry. Additionally, Gordon sits on multiple industry working groups related to pest and disease management, and taste.

Further to his role and extensive experience working in various industries, Gordon successfully leads multiple projects, developing grower strategies and acting as a conduit between Trevelyan’s Technical team, external industry bodies, research organisations and suppliers.

John Lewitt

John Lewitt

Head of Operations & Logistics


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John joined Trevelyan’s in 2011 and is now the Head of Operations and Logistics. His broad responsibilities include overseeing a multifaceted portfolio of departments crucial to the company’s success; this includes kiwifruit and avocado packhouse operations, pollen harvest and milling operations, fruit Inventory and shipping, engineering and maintenance, site facilities, coolstores, and forklifts.

John’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Business Studies degree from Massey University, providing him with a solid business management and operations foundation. In addition to his responsibilities at Trevelyan’s, John is an active member of the industry, contributing his expertise to the Industry Packaging Group.

With a wealth of experience and qualifications, John brings a seasoned perspective to his role- alongside a proven track record of success. Leading by example, he is the driving force behind Trevelyan’s operational excellence.

Peter Rowlands

Peter Rowlands

Head of Business Improvement

Pete joined Trevelyan’s in 2021 and is the Head of Business Improvement. His primary responsibilities include driving positive change across all aspects of the business, challenging existing processes and enhancing efficiency and effectiveness. 

Pete’s qualifications and international experience are notable. Following his highly decorated military service, Pete transitioned to the private sector, joining a multinational company as a Company Director; he provided invaluable support for the company’s global operations in challenging environments such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Kurdistan. Qualifications include Engineering Logistics and Senior Construction Management. Beyond his role at Trevelyan’s, he currently serves as a Director of the Meningitis Foundation Aotearoa.    

In addition to his role, Pete leads teams at Trevelyan’s that encompass, continuous improvement, IT, business intelligence, marketing and communications, and project development and support.

Mandeep Pannu

Mandeep Pannu

Head of Quality & Compliance

Mandeep joined Trevelyan’s in 2022 as the Head of Quality and Compliance, a crucial role that upholds the rigorous standards of quality and regulatory compliance across harvest, packing, and coolstore processes; so Trevelyan’s consistently meets and exceeds all food safety standards.

Mandeep’s academic qualifications include a Master of Science in Agriculture. With over a decade of experience in the kiwifruit industry, Mandeep brings a wealth of knowledge to her role, ensuring Trevelyan’s maintains its reputation for producing top-quality fruit, while adhering to all relevant standards and regulations.

Further to her role, Mandeep leads on robust quality auditing and educating all Trevelyan’s employees on the importance of quality control processes, regardless of role.

Sarah Lei

Sarah Lei

Head of Sustainability

Sarah joined Trevelyan’s in February 2020 and is now the Head of Sustainability. Sarah is the driving force behind Trevelyan’s commitment to economic, environmental, and social responsibility to help minimize the company’s environmental impact and ensure alignment with the company’s values.

Sarah’s academic background includes an Honours Degree in Chemical and Process Engineering, after which she honed her skills as an engineer in the UK, in the water and petrochemical industries; and more recently, she completed the HortNZ Leadership Training Programme in 2022, further bolstering her ability to drive positive change.

Alongside her role, Sarah heads our internal Sustainability Group that regularly assesses Trevelyan’s key sustainability challenges. She meticulously evaluates areas where improvements can be made and coupled with her innovative and holistic approach, ensures that sustainability is at the forefront of the company’s operations.

Aaron Russell

Aaron Russell

Head of Health and Safety

In 2020, Aaron joined Trevelyan’s as the Head of Health and Safety, where he plays a critical role in ensuring the well-being of all employees and the safety of operations across all business sectors. Aaron brings a wealth of international experience from his previous roles, including as a Chief Fire Officer focusing on emergency response operations.

Aaron holds extensive qualifications in Emergency Management, a Diploma in Health and Safety, and Civil Defence and Emergency Management in New Zealand. Additionally, Aaron holds the NEBOSH National Certificate for Health and Safety Management and is a member of the industry’s Health and Safety Executive Management Team.

Further to his role, Aaron provides strategic and technical leadership, connecting all aspects of the business to ensure that his team’s approach, processes and practices meet legal obligations and are related to other processes where appropriate.

Michelle Sheehan

Michelle Sheehan

Head of People & Culture

Michelle joined Trevelyan’s in 2024 as the Head of People and Culture. Her primary role is to foster a positive and inclusive work environment and align our people practices with the company’s goals and values.

Michelle’s academic background includes a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University Wellington. Michelle brings a wealth of experience in people and culture roles across various industries, including experience in large scale change and transformation projects.

Besides Michelle’s dedication to employee experience, talent development, diversity, inclusion and wellbeing, Michelle leads and develops the Human Resources and Employment Team on creating a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. Michelle is of Ngāti Tāmaterā, Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Ngāti Maniapoto and Pākehā descent.