POSITIVITY and harmony are the key messages an Invercargill man is hoping to share after finding himself an unlikely social media star.
When he first started posting short clips of the southern city on the social video platform TikTok, Tom Morton
(60) never expected them to gain much attention.
Now he is one of Invercargill’s most recognised faces.
He said his videos’ popularity came as a total surprise.
‘‘I just started to do TikToks as a positive take on living in Invercargill, because I’ve done YouTubes [which are] very similar, but didn’t get the outreach. And so I started doing the TikToks and started seeing things which I could comment on.’’
He now gets recognised almost everywhere he goes and people often ask him for selfies.
The attention had come with some challenges, but his TikTok fans had his back in the platform’s comments section, he said.
‘‘[At the start] I got quite a bit of trolling. It wasn’t always nice. It wasn’t necessarily aimed at me… Now when people start trolling me for instance, people gang up on those people.’’
At the time of writing, his videos had attracted more than 40,000 ‘‘likes’’.
His son Louie compared his dad’s sudden local fame to Harry Potter stepping into Diagon Alley, with murmurs of recognition following them most places they went.
Mr Morton’s videos range in topic from construction and infrastructure to local events, but can be summarised as a boots-on-the-ground, sliceof-life look at Southland and its residents.
Though he was born in New Zealand, Mr Morton lived in several countries, including Japan, the Netherlands and a 12-year stint in South Africa, before returning to Invercargill three years ago.
Having most of the world to compare it with, he said New Zealand was still the place to be.
‘‘When you hear people say, ‘oh Invercargill’s not exciting like London’, no, definitely not exciting like London… this is better. There are less social pressures.’’
Having a keen interest in local happenings, Mr Morton has decided to put his name down to run for the city council in the coming elections.