Steven Horne

Losing IT without going to the gym

Scottish-born Steven Horne has been living in New Zealand since 1990. Living is the operative world, as he almost died not once, but three times. His life story is one of highs and lows that could definitely, writes Lorraine Thomson, be the substance of a dram-ma Hollywood movie. Steven, now 49, has had every kind of medical condition you could imagine.

Steven turned from caring only about himself to caring about others, especially New Zealanders – and he wants to give back. The turning point was when he was given 18 months to live and he went off to Hong Kong to live his last days. “I stared to drink bottled green tea and I ended up losing weight. I was drinking six or seven bottles of this tea a day. I became addictive.”

He was eating Asian seafood, but no bread. The green tea drink was increasing his metabolism to burn fat and increasing his immunity with natural antioxidants. He couldn't believe his luck – and he lived to tell the tale. “I brought this Tao Ti Green Tea to New Zealand and thought this would be a good business opportunity. It failed to start with, due to the bitter taste, so I added the natural sweetener stevia. I wanted to make a funky drink New Zealanders would like. This became the first ready to drink real green tea using stevia – the first in the world.”

The drink was developed in response to Steve's belief “it is high sugar beverages that are killing children and causing life-threatening obesity”. Largely through drinking Tao Ti green tea, Steven dropped 51kg in 13 months. Largely through drinking Tao Ti green tea, Steven dropped 51kg in 13 months

Green tea, he notes, is growing 22 per cent globally and is the second most consumed drink in the world, behind water. Along with launching a new bottled green tea. Steven set up a charity, the Bank of Dreams Charitable Trust, former All Black Waka Nathan is one of the trustees.

Every bottle of Tao Ti purchased contributes to the trust, which sponsors teams and groups that encourage healthy activity and provides fundraising for clubs or groups, with the vision to turn around obesity. Steve is definitely passionate about making a difference.

Much of the idea for this came from the movie Pay it Forward – the story of a young boy who starts a chain reaction of goodness for his social studies project.


Green tea drink can cut weight: entrepreneur

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


Dying man's future in green tea leaves

An obese, fast-living chronic alcoholic with diabetes and a raft of health problems, his body began shutting down with doctors suggesting he had only 18 months to live. Moving to Thailand to live out his last days in style, Mr Horne started drinking green tea while in Hong Kong on a th ree-week layover and his 150kg frame lost nine kilos and he went to the doctor in panic. He came out with a clean bill of health and the advice that "whatever you are doing, it's working".