Mike grew up in Whataroa, (North of The Haast on the Westcoast of the South Island) with two younger brothers and two older sisters. In Mike’s secondary years the family moved to the North Island.
After Completing a BA at Massey, Mike went farming up the Parapara’s in Wanganui.
Gayle grew up in a small country area in Marton on a cropping farm with three brothers. Travelling to boarding school in Nelson and then trained as a nurse in New Plymouth.
Qualifying as a Registered Obstetrics Nurse, Gayle worked firstly in Palmerston North where she met Mike, and then as a district nurse in Whanganui.
Mike and Gayle married and then purchased their first farm in Te Kuiti where their four daughters were born. A busy challenging time with four under five raising two hundred calves each season. At this time, they helped instigate, fund raise and develop the first Not-for-profit Childcare Centre in Te Kuiti. With great community support the centre has expanded and is a real asset for the town -providing employment and supporting many families.
Expanding to a larger farm in Piopio led to branding and marketing their own meat and developing a relationship with numerous Hotels and restaurants in Auckland to whom they have been supplying for over 25 years.
They have since sold the farm to focus and support and grow the various businesses in the family and are now working towards retirement. Their four girls are now all married and raising their own families, developing and expanding their own businesses and have provided them with seven beautiful grandchildren.
They have taken on a variety of challenges in businesses which their girl’s and husband’s have supported and participated in. They have always raised their girls to work hard and earn their own income, starting as early as when they could hold a broom and sweep the shearing board. I’m proud they have a healthy hard working attitude ‘a job worth doing is worth doing well.’
Gayle has been coming to Paihia ever since she was a child with her family for an annual holiday in her parent’s timeshare and continued with her own children and then grandchildren. They all loved the time spent in the Bay of Islands. It’s no surprise that they have been drawn north!
Many a time they dined at 35° South never imagining that they might one day be involved with the development of a new business - Alongside and 35° South Restaurant Aquarium and Bar.
When asked what was their biggest challenge?
Negotiating, interpreting, and understanding local regulations, local and regional government and community expectations.
And their greatest highlight?
The highlight would be the involvement and support of their young staff. Some having never had the opportunity to be employed before. Watching them develop and grow in self-belief, discipline and leave with the skills that enable them to be employed anywhere in the world has been very rewarding.