Connecting Kiwis on a global platform

CHARLIE MITCHELL
Last updated 07:27 03/06/2014
Andrew Strugnell
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ

COLLECTIVE APPROACH: Andrew Strugnell has Google's support to provide networking for Kiwi YouTubers.

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Having funded his international travel through his hit video channel, a young Wellingtonian now has the backing of Google to guide his fellow YouTubers.

Andrew Strugnell of Tawa is tapping into the social possibilities of the website by bringing his fellow New Zealand YouTubers together.

The 24-year-old - who achieved brief international fame last year when a riddle he posted online, called "The Great Giraffe Challenge", caught the attention of international media - is hoping to turn YouTubing into a social experience.

To do so, he has co-created NZOffAir, a group that wants to connect Kiwi YouTubers together under a collective identity of positivity, creativity, and fun - things he has always instilled in his own videos.

"I'm a pretty social person and I enjoy making fun videos, and helping people achieve cool things through video," he says.

"I naturally gravitated towards YouTube. It's very social."

Strugnell's channel, which he has maintained part-time since 2006, has been viewed more than 2.5 million times and has helped fund his adventures around the globe.

Now that video-making equipment is so easily accessible, a bevy of young Kiwis are set to follow in his example.

Strugnell wants to make sure these newcomers have the tools to achieve their dreams and a network of people who will help them succeed.

"It can be quite hard to earn a living on YouTube. . . . The idea of making money that way has been thrashed to death in the media. But it can be pretty hard. You need to be very good at what you do, have very good marketing and social skills, and be dedicated enough to post consistently."

Earlier this year, Strugnell was invited by Google to complete a YouTube certification course in Sydney. He now has the official backing from YouTube to guide others to success on the website.

NZOffAir posts weekly videos showcasing the best Kiwi content, puts out training resources for newcomers, and promotes networking events for YouTubers.

Ultimately, the group wants to give Kiwi YouTubers a network of support and help spread the word about the growing number of talented Kiwis who are shooting for a digital career.

"It's a case of growing our reach to Australian, or even American audiences. To say 'hey, New Zealand exists. We make videos, too'."

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