Māori are sometimes known for their love of meat - pork bones, boil-up and a good hangi.

But Raniera Rewiri is smashing any such stereotypes.

He calls himself the "plant-based Māori" because he is vegan, alcohol free and has more than 10,000 social media followers.

"It's pretty cool to think about it really," Rewiri said. "People are watching or looking at me for some type of influence, because at the end of the day I'm just being myself. I'm not out there to get followers or anything like that."

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But the followers came.

Many were also Māori, inspired by Rewiri's positive outlook on life, health and well-being.

"I have heaps of Māori reaching out to me. It's pretty humbling.

"You don't even know these people but when they message you saying you've had a positive influence on their journey, it's crazy."

Born and raised in Whakatāne, Rewiri came from humble beginnings. And he once lived a very different life.

"Drinking, eating meat, sometimes doing drugs. Trying to live this life you see on Instagram or online where you just party and buy clothes... where you try to feel good in different ways.

"Once I started to strip all of that away, I started to find a different sort of happiness, strip back all these materialistic things… it's taken me on a journey where I know myself more."

Rewiri gave up alcohol two years ago and has eaten plant-based food for a year. He lives by a simple kaupapa, refusing to allow Māori to be a negative statistic.

"Knowing who I come from and where I come from is embedded in me. That type of courage to navigate throughout life is installed in me. It's in my blood. It's in my whakapapa."

And thats where Māori movement comes in, exercise with a Māori world view. Rewiri teaches it, hoping it will connect Māori back to their roots.

He's also teamed up with his mum, Huia to create their own food business called Tupuānuku. It's a way for Rewiri to share his passion for plant-based kai.

"The dream is to get a food truck by the end of next year so I can travel into different communities, to share kai. My message has more substance with my kai, I want to share this kaupapa with others."

And for those wanting to follow Raniera's lifestyle, his advice is simple.

"Don't be afraid to be different. I'm Māori, I don't eat meat, I don't drink, but I'm just comfortable with it.

"I don't care what people think."

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