A Bay of Plenty-born man who has spent over a decade delivering humanitarian assistance to families living in the world's war zones is one of 10 speakers headlining the fifth TEDxTauranga event on Saturday.

Founder of ReliefAid Mike Seawright is speaking at TEDxTauranga 2017 at Holy Trinity Church on October 7.

Mr Seawright's talk titled "Crossing no man's land" will speak about how he left the corporate world for conflict zones and found humanity at its best.

TED is a non-profit organisation that shares its concept of "ideas worth spreading" through worldwide events and online talks.


Mr Seawright left the corporate world 13 years ago to provide medical aid in Iraq, Yemen and South Sudan, economic development projects in Afghanistan, shelter, and education aid in Pakistan and most recently Syria.

Originally from Whakatane, the 44-year-old founded ReliefAid after he became frustrated that not enough was being done to help families affected by war and conflict.

Mr Seawright's experience has shown him families were the same the world over and that Kiwis can make a difference to those less fortunate than themselves.

"What I have been able to see in my time abroad is everything we want for our kids here is the same as overseas," he said.

"Despite the fact they have different clothes, homes, we want the same for all of our families like health and education."

Mr Seawright remembered a guard in Pakistan who worked hard to put his 10 children through education.

He hoped his talk would create a human bond and paint a "realistic picture" of what it was like for families living in war-torn countries.

"Hopefully, it will mean people will understand how they can help too."

Mr Seawright counts himself lucky to bear witness to what he calls "the very best of humanity".

"It is one of those privileges to see people that despite facing extreme difficulties continue to help the communities," he said.

"If those individuals can do as much as they do in those disastrous conditions, why should we not be doing the same for our own country?"

Director and lead organiser of TEDxTauranga 2017 Phil Green said this year's event had been moved from ASB Arena to Holy Trinity Church in the CBD.

"We just want to give our audience a whole new experience to be inside an auditorium, theatre-style," he said. "This year we are mixing it up with the new venue, different experience and speakers."

Mr Green said 10 speakers from a diverse range of backgrounds would address the crowd
and talk about a number of subjects from assisting families in the world's conflict zones to architectural creativity.

"You will feel uplifted, laugh, clap, laugh and cry," Mr Green said. "There is so much emotion and background to some of our speakers."

Former Tauranga Boys' College jazz band Plum Jam, a haka-fusion group Toka Tu and a hula-hoop performer will entertain the audience.


WHAT: A non-profit event and all speakers and staff are volunteers
WHEN: October 7 from 10-6pm
WHERE: Holy Trinity Church, 215 Devonport Rd, Tauranga
COST: Ticket prices start from $75