When someone from the US puts honey on their toast in the morning, there is a good chance that honey has come from Taranaki.
To get it from Taranaki to the US, American businessman Mike Everly commutes between his home town of Atlanta, Georgia to Taranaki three to four times a year.
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It's a route he knows well. He has been doing it for 10 years now, and he says he doesn't plan to stop.
Mike is the founder of Bees and Trees honey, a company which sells authentic Taranaki honey in the United States.
His love of the honey has given him a second place to call home, he says, as he has grown very fond of Taranaki over the years.
Mike spends his time in Taranaki extracting honey from his hives to sell in America.
"The honey is very popular in the States."
While it is honey that brings him to New Zealand now, it was Mike's previous job that first bought him to this side of the world.
The first time he came to New Zealand was in 1998 with his wife Shannon.
"I was the management consultant for Ernst and Young. At the time I lived here for four months."
Mike says at this point, he fell in love with New Zealand.
"I wanted to come back when my children were older, to give them the chance to live outside the United States and experience New Zealand."
Mike moved to New Zealand with his family and settled in Nelson in 2009. While Mike was in New Zealand, he researched different businesses.
"I took a trip to Taranaki and researched mānuka honey. It seemed like a good fit for what I was looking for."
Mike then invested in hives that were looked after by a different company. After two years, Mike hired his first employee and started his own company.
After developing the branding, Mike and his family moved back to the States in 2012 where he sells his honey.
"The brand is honey specifically from Taranaki."
The name Bees and Trees honey is the branding Mike uses when selling his honey in the States.
"The name of the business in New Zealand is Forest and Bees Native Honey."
Since 2012, he has been commuting back and forth to Stratford three or four times a year.
While in Stratford, Mike extracts honey from the hives and stores it in his extraction facility.
The hives are flown by helicopter to the fields where Mike extracts his honey. He says he is lucky to have close relationships with the landowners by his fields.
Mike has six full-time staff who work in the small to medium beekeeping operation producing the mānuka honey.
Mike has his own packaging equipment.
Mike says he enjoys every trip to Stratford, where he spends time staying at Dolly's Milk.
"I stay at Barberry Hill. I love staying there. It's a lovely space it makes coming to work in Stratford so enjoyable. I feel like I have a home away from home."
When Mike is in the States, he works on promoting the honey with individual retailers.
"I do industry and food shows which cater to independent retailers. I spend a lot of time travelling to promote the mānuka honey.
"I currently have 150 individual retailers selling the honey.
"There are many factors which contribute to the honey being high quality. The biggest challenge is teaching how to read the honey levels so consumers can tell when a honey is high quality."
When Mike is in Stratford, he also helps the community as much as he can.
"I have a close relationship with Lake Rotokare. We placed hives at the lake and they use the honey from the hives to sell for fundraising efforts."
Mike also works with some of the primary schools.
"We have hives at Toko and Rawhitiroa school. We also teach the skills about beekeeping and honey."
The company also sponsors the annual Eltham to Tokau sheep dog trials.
"I enjoy helping community. I love the initiatives we're engaged with."
The business also does its bit to help Taranaki become pest-free.
"As part of our DoC concessions we have a responsibility to earn conservative credits. We initiated a pest control programme out in the bush where we do trapping for rats and stoats to improve kiwi habitat and vitality of the native bush."
Mike says his family supports the business, with his wife Shannon and their kids Kate and Mitchell coming to Stratford once a year to visit.
"The kids think what I do is cool."
Shannon helps Mike with a lot of the accounting work and the marketing and sales side of the business in the States.
"She enjoys coming to New Zealand with me and connecting with the people we work with and have made friendships with."
Mike says he has developed close relationships with people in Stratford over the 10 years he has worked here.
"When I'm in the States I live in a big city. When I come to Stratford I enjoy the smallness of Stratford and the close-knit community feel."
Mike says seeing Mount Taranaki is always a highlight of his trips.
"The mountain is iconic. When I land and start driving to Stratford and can see the mountain, it makes me feel like I'm getting closer to my second home."
In Mike's spare time, he enjoys going up the mountain and talking walks in the parks around Stratford.
"I enjoy walking around Victoria Park. I've also stayed up at the Lodge at Dawson Falls."
Mike and his family will be in Stratford for Christmas this year.
"This year, the mānuka season falls around Christmas time until January. The season looks to be later than past years. It's a key part of the season where the hives are ready to be moved to the mānuka sites."