Dunedin-based skateboarder Levi Hawken, whose nine-second "Nek Minute" clip has attracted 1.6 million views on YouTube and spawned dozens of parodies, is returning north.

He said he was leaving for Auckland today to explore opportunities after calling Dunedin home for the past two years.

"I will never be able to afford to buy a house in Dunedin if I don't follow the work," he said.

Since the clip, where he says "left my scooter outside the dairy ... nek minute" before showing a broken scooter at a Fairfield skateboard park, went viral he has been commuting between the two cities.


The catchphrase has appeared on T-shirts, inspired songs and was even used by politicians during the election campaign.

Mr Hawken, who describes himself as an artist, skater and entrepreneur, has also made regular television appearances, and says the "Nek Minute" character is an alter ego he hadn't yet fully developed.

"I am just someone who became famous, but it is important to back something up, you know."

He acknowledged there was a certain amount of pressure to come up with "another one-hit wonder", but he wanted to see where "Nek Minute" would take him.

"You don't treasure the golden eggs, you treasure the goose."

While he remained tight-lipped about his next project, he would work on a youth project in Auckland this summer, and continue standing up for young people.

"Especially now as I wield a bigger stick, it is about time someone stood up and looked out for the youth a bit more."