Attracting a digital audience: New Zealand’s top ten YouTube channels

As the years go on, and the digital world develops, YouTube’s content and audience continue to broaden. From influencers to musicians, comedians to vloggers, YouTube provides a creative platform for anyone and everyone to be a part of. It also allows content creators to connect with much larger audiences than other social channels. Figures such as David Dorbick, Jenna Marbles, and Jeffery Star have around 20 million subscribers who engage in their content from all corners of the world. Additional to the fame is commercial interest from brands, creative agencies, and marketers who aim to capitalise on the popularity of these YouTube celebs.

And while David, Jenna, and Jeffrey are raking in the dosh, there is also a collection of Kiwi content creators that are using YouTube as a platform to air their views and express their creativity.

Collectively, the top 10 Kiwi-based YouTube channels have more than 20 million subscribers and, although that obviously also includes an international audience, this number is impressive given that New Zealand, as a starting base, only has a population of almost five million people.


1. Lorde (4.3 million subscribers, 99,928,546 views)

Born and raised in Auckland, Kiwi singing sensation Lorde takes the throne as New Zealand’s top YouTube channel. Her channel is made up of music videos, live sessions, and interviews and has been active for seven years following the release of her iconic hit Royals. Another channel dedicated to the singer titled ‘Lorde Vevo’ also has 3.5 million subscribers.

2. Shaanxo (3.1 million subscribers, 437,469,772 views) 

Originally from Palmerston North and now living in Auckland, Shannon Harris vlogs about makeup, fashion, hairstyles, even her boob-job. She’s now a YouTube partner and makes a fulltime living off the gig. In 2012 the YouTuber launched her very own beauty line xoBeauty and in 2017, was named as number five on Forbes’ top global beauty influencers.

3. Living big in a tiny house (2.5 million subscribers, 309,599,825 views).

Passionate about small space design and third on the list is Kiwi bloke Bryce. Bryce Langston has a YouTube channel dedicated to finding tiny homes and eco-friendly living which has drawn in a large number of fans since starting in 2013. Down to earth and easy to watch, there’s a reason as to why Bryce’s YouTube channel is up the top. Kiwi’s also love a DIY.

4. Viva La Dirt League (2 million subscribers, 259,393,301 views)

Viva La Dirt League is a channel ran by three self-confessed nerds who play games and make comedy sketches about games. Starting as a hobby, the YouTube channel was originally used to post Starcraft parody music videos. Now, the channel has three core shows, Bored, Epic NPC Man and PubG Logic, and has accumulated more than two million subscribers.

5. Dolan Dark (1.5 million subscribers, 63,378,596 views)

Number four is Dolan Dark, a channel that gained popularity due to its montage parodies. The creator behind the channel is a New Zealander named Jay who also has a second channel ‘Dolan Darker’, a channel for lower effort views, yet more frequent videos. According to his Twitter, he runs ten separate YouTube accounts.

6. Jamie’s World (1.3 million subscribers, 68,197,821 views)

A YouTuber that almost all 20-year-old Kiwis know of is Jamie Curry, who regularly posts videos focused on lifestyle issues that resonate with a younger female audience. In a previous story posted on StopPress, Curry said that she believed the success of YouTube lies in the authenticity of the content being delivered.

“These people are real, they aren’t acting as someone else. It just makes everything so much more interesting. Yes, marketing is changing for sure. People are more likely to buy something that someone they look up to on YouTube wears, uses, etc, than buying something that is advertised on television. It’s just so much more natural and honest than paid adverts.”    

7. LOGinHDi (940k subscribers, 244, 740, 777 views)

LOGinHDi, also known as Loggie, is a Roblox YouTuber best known for his hit parody song “Slaying In Roblox” which has gained over 71M views on YouTube and 1M plays on Spotify.

8. ThePalaceDanceStudio (894k subscribers, 180,513,004 views)

Dedicated entirely to dance, this YouTube channel follows the routines, competitions, and vlogs of the dancers from the Auckland-based studio. Founded and led by choreographer Paris Goebel, the team has been involved in music videos from the likes of Justin Bieber and has won multiple international hip-hop competitions.

9. How to DAD (625k subscribers, 48,418,653 views)

Number nine on the list is a Kiwi dad who uploads videos about how to look after a child, well, how he looks after a child. Super likable and effortlessly funny, this dad has definitely earned his place in the top ten.

10. Disney Junior Australia and New Zealand (577k subscribers, 512, 425, 477 views).

And the final contender of the top ten Kiwi YouTube channels is, of course, Disney. Dedicated to Australian and Kiwi kids, the Disney Junior channel has multiple videos, including favourite characters such as Mickey Mouse, Puppy Dog Pals, Olaf, and more.

While the Kiwi YouTube scene is still in its relative infancy, a few of the names on this list have already shown prowess for not only attracting viewers but also for keeping them engaged. The success of Shaanxo and TheRoyalPalaceDanceStudio are particularly promising from a Kiwi perspective in that they open up collaboration opportunities for brands, who want to connect with specific target markets. And this is slowly allowing YouTube to evolve into a digital channel that offers more than simply serving as a TVC dumping ground.


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