Oscar-nominated filmmaker Taika Waititi has come under fire after saying New Zealand "has a lot to learn" when it comes to environmental and social issues.

The Kiwi director has been called a "traitor" following his comments earlier this week when he said he is "not proud" to come from a place where rivers and waterways are poisoned.

"I'm not very proud of coming from a place that everyone overseas thinks it's this pure, clean, green country but, in reality, all our lakes and waterways are poison," he told TVNZ's Marae.

"We've got a lot to learn about looking after the environment. We've got a lot to learn about our depression rates, our suicide rates, teen suicide rates, child poverty numbers and the housing crisis," the Boy director said.

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He took to Twitter today to address the backlash.

In a subsequent tweet, Waititi added some other issues he finds the country needs to address urgently.

He then added that Jacinda Ardern had just become Prime Minister and added "life is good".