A homeless man in Mount Maunganui spends every day picking up litter for no other reason than to "keep the place nice and clean".

Malcolm Taitoko was born in Tauranga, and after an up and down life, he has found something he loves to do - and he does it for free.

A familiar sight for many in the Mount, he patrols Pilot Bay, the base of Mauao and Mount Main Beach in a high-vis vest, filling more than three large shopping bags with trash every day.

"If I didn't do it I would get bored. I love walking and keeping the place looking nice," he said.

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"The amount of litter dropped pisses me off."

Mr Taitoko said he did not mind living on the streets, with no rent, no board to pay, and had been for the past four months.

He guessed he had been out on the beat collecting rubbish for a year and a half, and had become a recognisable feature of the Mount.

Locals and visitors enjoying the Mount often came up to him to give him a pat on the back and say "you're doing a marvellous job, keep it up".

"It makes me happy when people notice, I feel good to myself."

Mr Taitoko has picked up all sorts of rubbish, mainly beer bottles and cans.

While speaking to the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend Mr Taitoko continued picking up rubbish, finding a pair of men's undies.

"I've never found something like this before!"

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The 58-year-old had a birthday coming up - but even then he said he wouldn't be taking a rest.

"I love doing it so I'll keep doing it."

Mauao meant a lot to him - "It's Maori land. Those two fires in the past broke my heart a bit."

A picture was posted to social media of Mr Taikoto in his recognisable high-vis vest picking up bits of cardboard kids had left behind after using them to slide down Mt Drury.

The locals reacted by calling for him to have some form of recognition as an asset to the Mount community.

Helen Sheddan said: "I see him often too, always picking up rubbish early in the morning and he sometimes holds the gate open on the mount track. I agree he should receive some form of recognition. A very kind man."

Karina Silvester said: "How cool keeping our bit of paradise clean. He deserves recognition."

Chris Sio said: "Legend - what it's all about - I tautoko the postings etc for the sake of creating awareness, but the people like this brother that do it all the time like this with little to no song and dance - that is true gold."