With about half a million followers on social media, Paaka Davis is quickly becoming a household name on TikTok.
Most recently he the Best Live Creator title at the Australia NZ TikTok awards.
“I hope that my winning this award shows that this space is our space as well and that there are many people out there who want to support our people,” Davis. says
The 38-year-old from Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou, Rongo Whakaata, Te Whānau-a-Kai, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa says he joined Tik Tok three years ago solely to participate in the auto-cue challenge from another Tik Tok creator.
“I really wanted to have a go and you can only do that on TikTok,” he says.
“That led to people asking questions about te Ao Māori and te Ao Moko.”
Inspiring other Māori
Paaka goes live on TikTok daily, engaging with his 440,000-strong followers from his home in Tāmaki Makaurau. Some of his content is dedicated to te reo and mātauranga Māori, but Paaka says he prioritises promoting other Māori creators on the app.
“I am not a reo teacher so people were coming to me asking questions, so these days I direct them to anyone who asks pātai about reo Māori to other creators who are trying to grow their platforms like that.”
He wasn’t the only Māori to win at the awards last Wednesday. Judah Metu-Teaukura won the first NZ Creator of the Year 2023 award.
Paaka says Tiktok is still in its infancy as an app and believes there is yet another vehicle to showcase te ao Māori to the world.
“I just hope that it inspires other Māori to start creating content and sharing their whakaaro on life and whatever mahi they do.”