Entertainment

Who is Broxh? How a wood carver became an overnight Twitch success

by Theo Salaun
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Broxh the wood carver is one of Twitch’s crafters and, thanks to the wholesome nature of his streams, has found himself with just about 500,000 new followers in only one month.

In a world of nutty gameplay and outlandish personalities, Broxh (as he’s named on Twitch) has become the platform's latest phenomenon.

He’s been called the Bob Ross of carving and the most wholesome streamer on the Amazon-owned service, but he calls his followers “whanau” because that’s how he treats them.

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Broxh
One of Broxh's finished wood carvings, from when he was a student

Whanau is the Maori word for extended family, and the most-used word on Twitter by Broxh, a 28-year-old from New Zealand and Oceania, who plays World of Warcraft and streams his Whakairo, the Maori art of carving.

In late April, he was the first creator featured in Twitch Australia and New Zealand’s Creative Showcase. Up until then, his streams netted an average of five viewers. But that all changed once, given a larger audience by the showcase, his reaction to gifted subs went viral.

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“Ah, bro. You didn’t have to. Can I give that money back?” He may be the only Whakairo artist on Twitch and possibly the only streamer to ever try and refund gifted subs. 

Since then, the humble, kind artist’s audience has only grown as viewers flock to his calming streams. But, viewers come with gifts and Broxh has continuously held true to his modest nature—encouraging people to engage and watch for free, but not to spend money on him.

In early May, he decided to turn off Twitch’s donation button, explaining that “it feels bad, within myself, turning that button on with what’s going on—like I’d feel real bad with it if I turned it on in these hard times.”

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When a popular streamer, “PandaTV,” revealed that he had tricked Broxh into giving him his address (under the pretense of sending merch) so that he could send him a new computer to replace the shoddy laptop he had been using, Broxh’s reaction was simple: “Aghh, please don’t.” 

And, again, when a follower told Broxh he would hypothetically give the streamer a million dollars if he had it, his reaction was playful, yet equally on-brand: “If you had a million dollars and gave it to me, I would slap you silly for doing that bro … Trying to give me a million dollars? Get outta here, man! But thank you brother, you’re the man.”

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While Twitch streamers receive flack for abusing parasocial relationships with their fans to make money, Broxh’s attitude is refreshing and feels genuine. 

He started his stream simply to provide some casual entertainment so that people might stay home more, as he explained recently: “Staying home saves lives, that’s why I started this.”


The Bob Ross comparisons are apt and unforced. “The Joy of Painting” series gave millions an opportunity to find solace in serene creativity, with Ross’ uplifting demeanor giving rise to perspectives that stand the test of time, such as his quote on mistakes while painting: “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

In a moment of perfect serendipity, Broxh too was asked about what he does when he makes mistakes.

“We don’t make mistakes, brother. We make adjustments. Just incorporate it into your carving.”

He does craft beautiful works of art and following along for his process is a quality educational experience, but what sets his content apart is the authentic relationship he builds with an audience that is content to take it easy in a positive environment.

Donations are turned off and subs are discouraged, but Broxh has still made money from his stream and has been asked what he intends to do with that money—to which he responded: “I’ll probably just buy more wood for the stream and give the rest away to family and my mother.”

It’s no wonder that he wanted to give the money from subs back to his followers then. They are his whanau, after all.