Edit ModuleShow Tags

“Moana” in Maori a Hit in New Zealand—Why Not in Hawaiian?

A free translated version of Disney’s film, released to 30 New Zealand theaters, played to packed houses.


Disney Moana



In a masterful public relations stroke by Disney as well as a heartwarming repurposing of a film buffeted by charges of cultural appropriation, the blockbuster Moana took Maori-speaking New Zealand by storm last week.  


As reported in The New York Times, a writer and director who worked on the original $643-million-grossing film, Taika Waititi, initially approached Disney about translating the film before its release. Permission granted, a team of translators and sound technicians went to work. Taika’s sister, Tweedie Waititi, would end up producing the redubbed version, called Moana reo Maori. Free screenings at the end of Maori Language Week played to full houses, which included many immersion school students eager to see a feature film in Maori for the first time—and one without English subtitles. 


While the Times story briefly referenced the controversies that erupted over certain merchandise choices and instances of alleged cultural appropriation, it did not raise the question of any forthcoming versions in other Pacific Islander languages, including Hawaiian or Samoan. New Zealand has about 125,000 Maori speakers out of a population of 4.7 million, while Hawaiian speakers are estimated at 72,800 (based on a 5.6 percent finding by the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism in 2014) out of our population of 1.3 million.


To read the complete story, click here.




Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Subscribe to Honolulu

Honolulu Magazine April 2019
Edit ModuleShow Tags



9 Greatest Honolulu Homes

Great Homes

Stunning, historic, extraordinary.


Can the Mainland Do Poke Right? Do We Want Them To?​


Martha Cheng, author of The Poke Cookbook and former line, talks about how a New York City publisher decided Hawai‘i’s favorite pūpū was for everybody.


50 Essential Hawai‘i Books You Should Read in Your Lifetime


The most iconic, trenchant and irresistible island books, as voted by a panel of literary community luminaries.


Everything You Need to Know About Local Fruit in Hawai‘i


Fruits are part of our history and culture, a way for us to feel connected to our community.



A Local’s Guide to Buying Reef-Safe Sunscreen


Five Hawai‘i brands have created reef-safe sunscreens that are safe for your ʻohana and the ocean. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags