Auckland consistently ranks highly in lists of the world's best cities but is never number one. So what would it take to turn Auckland into a first-class city? This week the Herald begins a 10-day series examining some of the biggest hurdles Auckland faces, from housing and transport to entertainment and education. We look at what we are doing, what we need to do, and why Auckland's success matters to the rest of the country. In the second part of the series we look at the environment.
Max Giles jokes he's that annoying shopper in the supermarket who turns up at the check-out with a trolley laden with loose, unbagged - and always in-season - vegetables.
And that's of course when he's not growing his own in the back garden of his Mt Albert home, which happens to be furnished with tables and chairs the 31-year-old built from timber that was headed for the tip.
He also makes jam and cordial from his citrus trees, avoids plastics, prefers arts and crafts over TV and uses public transport as much as he can.
The dream he has for himself, wife Jane, and daughters Olive and Morgan, is to live out in the country somewhere, completely off the grid.
All of this doesn't make him a radical greenie, he says - it's more just about stripping the needless excesses from our daily lives.
"I do really care about the planet, but I guess I'm also just a normal person in that I don't like letting things go to waste."
Mr Giles grew up with an interest in gardening but says it was probably living for a short time in an Australian commune that turned him on to sustainable living.
His backyard wedding was decorated with a wooden bar and tables, all made by himself, while the food and even the beer was also self-prepared.
This year, he launched his own business, Maxwell Giles Furniture, selling wares made entirely from recycled timber.
While Aucklanders didn't have to such extremes to lessen their enviromental footprint he said, they could take simple, cash-saving steps like walking, cycling or using public transport, growing vegetables, limiting their use of plastic packaging or just switching off the TV when they weren't watching it.
"It doesn't take much and I think it's important people dedicate time to those sorts of things."
This article was found in the NZ herald
Link to the article here - Case Study: Going green