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Published: 2007-08-28 00:00:00

He recycles. He plants trees. He wants to make the world a better place for his tamariki.

But suggest actor, television presenter and Whaingaroa (Raglan) man Antonio Te Maioha is a ‘greenie’ and he expresses a certain level of discomfort.

“I’m just a guy who is trying to make changes and do stuff everybody could, like recycling, changing to energy efficient light bulbs and growing a bit of food,” he said.

“The ‘greenie’ label can make it too easy for people to stick you in a box and write you off…instead of actually listening to what’s being said or applying changes in their own lives. 

"It also insinuates that a sustainable way of thinking is a contemporary ethos when in fact it used to be an integral part of our culture and how we used to live.”

Mr Te Maioha, known for his presenting role on Maori Television show Kiwi Mara and his recurring guest role as Buddy Haanui on Shortland St, can’t say exactly what drives his desire to live more sustainably.

“I guess it’s just an awareness that everything’s connected, and I have a relationship with everything, and I should look after it,” he said.

Environment Waikato waste minimisation facilitator Susa Kupa believes this kind of awareness is growing in the community as a whole, and wants to help people make changes in their everyday lives.

In response, she has invited a diverse cross-section of people from around the region to a Sustainable Futures Forum in Hamilton on September 28.

Mr Te Maioha will host the forum, which will bring 80 Waikato people together to discuss and debate issues such as waste minimisation, energy efficiency, environmentally friendly transport and work life balance.

"In February, Prime Minister Helen Clark indicated her intention for New Zealand to lead the way on sustainability, and following that the Government has tagged $30 million for a Sustainability Six Pack,” Ms Kupa said.

“Household sustainability is one of the six pack, which means there is now more funding available to help people incorporate sustainability into their everyday lives.

“The forum is a collaborative project between Environment Waikato and the Ministry for the Environment, and the information collected will feed into regional and national strategies with this goal in mind.”