Rangatahi 'Tik Tok' stars learn te reo during lockdown 

By D'Angelo Martin

Judah Metu-Teaukura and Nixon Stoddart are rangatahi Tik Tok stars, both with more than 100,000 followers. They found themselves spending self-isolation together at the Hahana Studio in Whanganui where they continued to upload daily content on Tik Tok, but also found a new passion to learn te reo Māori.

The latest online app almost everyone has given a go is Tik Tok, a lip-sync dance comedy video platform. In just two months, this duo has taken Hahana Tik Tok from zero to more than 60,000 followers.

Nixon Stoddart and Judah Metu-Teaukura were only meant to stay in isolation together at the Hahana Studio for a few weeks, but when the level 4 lockdown was officially announced their time together in 'iso' was extended. 

"We were gonna do like what it would be like if you were in isolation and show everyone what it was going to be like," says Judah. 

"We ended up spending seven weeks down there and I guess it was really good for me and him because we work together now so it's like bought us together."

Director of Hahana Vicki Makutu says, "We actually thought that it was going to be four weeks with the lockdown and then when alert level three came along then they were able to go home."

'Judaxx' and 'Nixonsto' as they are known on Tik Tok are two of New Zealand's most well-known influencers when it comes to the Tik Tok platform, posting skits and dances on a daily basis. 

"It was all like a surprise like I didn't expect, it just all happened, like why do people like me?  I'm just a normal person and anyone can do this kind of thing," says Judah. 

For Nixon, he made it a goal to post every day. "For a while, I was making videos and then instantly all these people started watching my videos. I was like, what the heck? But at the same time, it's really scary but I was like this is fricken cool that people are watching your content."

During isolation at the Hahana Studio, they both had more time to focus on making Tik Tok content for their own platforms but also for Hahana as well. "We started making content for Hahana which was 'Māori-a-fied' and that was like a really cool thing because we wanted to learn Māori, but we didn't really take that responsibility on until we got to the Hahana Studio."

Vicki says that the goal was to get them learning te reo Māori anyway and the lockdown was the perfect time for them to do so. "The cool thing about them being Māori is that they couldn't speak Māori. So we had a really cool opportunity of them coming down here and seeing their journey of them not speaking Māori to them speaking Māori."

According to the two, while on their journey learning te reo Māori they realised some of their followers were also tagging along as well. 

"Not much people would sit down and watch, no offence, Te Karere because it's just too much Māori. And so people who aren't even Māori learning Māori as well, but they don't realise because it's just fun Māori content and that was our goal."

"Māori kids also correct us when we say something wrong and it's all good because they're helping us as well because we got a couple of Māori words wrong. But that's us showing that we're learning."

Judah and Nixon are now part of the Hahana Whānau where they will continue to learn and teach basic te reo Māori to their followers.