New Māori TikTok hub showcases talented creators

By Jessica Tyson

TikTok has launched a dedicated Māori hub on its platform to help people discover the Māori language, the culture, the waiata and the creators who are doing some cool activities.

Two of the creators in the hub are Morgana Watson and Haukatangi Heta.

Heta says he shares te ao Māori through a comedic lens.

“I'm a bit of a joker in my whānau and they could probably vouch for the fact that I'm a bit of a class clown. So I try to share our culture through a couple of laughs," he says.

“It's been really well received, which for me is really nice and relatable. I think has been a real common theme for me.”

Heta, of Raukawa ki Wharepuhunga, has close to 260,000 followers on Tiktok and says his “aunty at the marae series” launched him into the platform.

“I’m really, really proud of it… It just started out as a hobby that became something much more than that.”

'Scary series'

Watson, whose profile name is Mana Wāhine, has more than 60,000 people following her on the platform. She educates people about Māori stories from her home and educates people about te reo Māori and mātauranga Māori.  

“Because I live it every day. We speak a lot of te reo Māori in the home, through kapa haka, always involved with kaupapa Māori. Tiktok has helped me kind of share that with my audience,” she says.

Watson, of Taranaki, Te Atiawa, Ngāpuhi and Te Atihaunui-a-Pāpārangi, says she’s most proud of her pūrakau “scary series”.

“It was a really great medium for me to share parts of our pūrakau, our legendary creatures inside our stories and our culture, in a way that is creepy and scary and people really engaged with that."

Watson says Tikotok allows Māori content creators “the opportunity to be inside the communities that we wouldn't usually be.”

“So as our way of autonomously expressing who we are in a way that is authentic to us as Māori. Usually, those who don't have a direct connection to us, to our communities, don't get to see that. So I think that's a really powerful thing.”

She hopes that through people watching their videos, it will revolutionise how people view Māori.

“To stop the 'othering', the exoticism, the romanticism, of Maori people and see us and both the traditional and contemporary light. I think it's a way for us to be ourselves and have other people see that.”