Green tea drink can cut weight: entrepreneur

Feb 17, 2014 7

A chance conversation has put Tokoroa on the map as the New Zealand "capital" of an Asian green tea drink, that the distributor says "will change the world".

Auckland-based entrepreneur Steven Horne discovered the Tao Ti drink on a trip to Hong Kong two and a half years ago and swears it is the reason for his dramatic weight loss going from 139kg to 88kg in 13 months.

He said the drink, with its anti-oxidant properties, is also responsible for lowering his cholesterol and blood pressure and controlling his diabetes.

Now, Mr Horne, a recovering alcoholic, is promoting the drink to New Zealanders. But in particular he wants to promote it to Maori and Pacific islanders who he believes will benefit the most because of the prevalence of diabetes and cardio-vascular disease among their populations.

Far from it being a hard sell for his product, Mr Horne is treating it as a personal crusade, trying to pass on the benefits that he said he has experienced from the product.

In fact, he seems to be giving more of the product away than he is actually selling at the moment, but that is not worrying him.

"It is not all about making money, it is about offering people some hope, a solution to health problems."

The link with Tokoroa came about after a chance comment during a chance meeting with Reuben Samuel, the Waikato Rugby Union's community rugby officer for the South Waikato.

This led to Mr Horne getting involved with groups in the town including a Pacific health group, junior rugby league and the town's New World supermarket, which is the first major supermarket in the country to stock the product.

Mr Horne's company, Tao Ti Pacific, is in talks with major supermarket chains for distribution rights and there have been offers from companies wanting to go into partnership with him. He said he is wary of who he goes into partnership with as his vision is not just about the bottom line, it is about making people's lives better.

"I offer the Pacific group in Tokoroa the product at cost price as I want them to see the same benefit that I did. I want them to see what it can do, see that benefit for themselves."

The company plans to donate $40,000 worth of product to Maori and Pacific Island health organisations to help promote a healthier lifestyle to youth.

While Mr Horne is passionate about the benefit of the drink, he wants it to go hand-in-hand with exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

Mr Horne, a Scotsman, was a former rugby league player in the UK before he embarked on a career as a high-flying marketing man working in places such as Dubai and Tahiti and for the rich and famous.

- © Fairfax NZ News




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