From putting together kiwifruit orchards to landscaping Canary Wharf on the River Thames, John Peterson has managed all sorts of projects and is now taking to them with a digger.
His equipment allows him to take on any landscape project that requires the land to be reshaped for things like terraces or garden beds, and is also able to clear up building sites.
“I’ve got the two-tonne digger and three-way tipper truck, which make jobs cost effective because of the time saved on labour,” John says.
As well as being on the tools he can oversee a project, too, with years of experience across all areas of the trade.
The Matakana resident has lived in the area for 18 years, but started out in the Bay of Islands where he did a carpentry apprenticeship at 15 and then a Certificate of Horticultural Practice.
“Kiwifruit was taking off in the 1980s, so I got involved with putting together the structures for the orchards, some of which were up to about 36 hectares,” he says.
When the financial crash hit in 1987, John left the industry and headed to find work in Australia, before moving on to England.
“They were doing up the London Docklands area, which was still damaged from bombing during the war, so I got the contract to do all the street plantings.
“It was the biggest project in the UK at the time and the machinery England had was very advanced.”
After moving back to NZ, he ran a landscaping business in Auckland, and then moved to Matakana where he had a nursery operation in his greenhouse, specialising in citrus.
“I managed to sell about 13,000 trees each year, but with all the overheads in that market you need to be doing at least 30,000 for it to be profitable.”
More recently he managed Takatu Vineyard with its 13,000 grape vines and maintained the accommodation lodge.
“I’ve got a lot of experience in management from all my projects over the years, so now I’m looking to specialise more with my digger service.”