Ōtara is a secret, mountainous, picturesque land full of forests straight out of a fairy tale, that's what this TikTok will have you believe anyway.
Viewed by 200,000 people so far, the video starts with the Google Earth globe spinning as the words “a MUST VISIT in NEW ZELAND” appear on screen, while the caption describes Ōtara as a “hidden paradise”. Soon, we’re dropping into South Auckland from space.
Once we land in ‘Ōtara’ we’re greeted with lush, green mountain tops adorned with lakes and light clouds hovering above. There are also rivers flowing heartily through the middle of dense, mossy forests. At one point the beautiful icebergs and arctic ponds of Ōtara are shown on screen.
Commenters on the TikTok, posted by @skidaloahooncartel, are either adding to the joke, laughing at the joke, or warning that the joke might lead to people being extremely disappointed in Ōtara if they visit.
“I always climb the Ōtara mountains,” said one avid hiker in the comments.
“I'm going to NZ next month,” wrote another travelling commenter. “I’m going to get off the plane, hop in a taxi and say ‘Take me to the majestic Otara’.”
“I can already imagine the disappointment on people’s faces,” a third added.
“I need to visit this side of Ōtara,” one more said. “The Ōtara I’ve been to must’ve been a dupe I’m sure of it.”
Even though Ōtara doesn't have those beautiful mountains and flowing rivers, it does have the best market in the country (every Saturday) and an incredible, vibrant community.
Otara has some competition for the Aotearoa town with the best tourist advertisement. Earlier this year someone on TikTok made a video presenting Porirua, a town just outside of Wellington, as a “paradise on Earth” and “the most beautiful place on the planet.”
According to the video posted by @churrbadda, which has earned hundreds of thousands of views, the town contains palm tree-laden beaches, breathtakingly beautiful glacier lakes, and fields built for frolicking in as the sun sets.
Just like Ōtara, the reality is a little different from the TikTok.