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Te Reo Māori Version of Disney's 'Moana'


Writer Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) and Performance and Talent Director Rachel House are excited about the developments of the reo Māori Version of Moana

Production development is well underway on the reo Māori version of Walt Disney Animations Studios Academy Award®-nominated animated feature Moana. The Māori language version is being created by Taika Waititi, Chelsea Winstanley and Tweedie Waititi’s Matewa Media Trust and supported by Te Mangai Paho with production being led by Ms Waititi in collaboration with The Walt Disney Studios.

House says “the experience so far has been phenomenal helped by having a great team and working with such outstanding talent”.

The Te Reo recording process includes actors Rachel House (“Gramma Tala”), Temuera Morrison (“Chief Tui”), Jemaine Clement (“Tamatoa”) and Oscar Kightley (“Fisherman”) reprising their roles and they are joined by upcoming new Waikato talent Jaedyn Randell (“Moana”), seasoned Maori Media Personality Piripi Taylor (“Māui”) & Wāhine Entrepreneur Amanda Ashton (“Sina”). The production team acknowledge the musical talent that are involved in this project including multi-award winning composer and soloist Rob Ruha as the Musical Director as well as Maisey Rika, Cilla Ruha, Tawaroa Kawana and Tommy Waititi. Matewa Media also acknowledge Te Whānau ā Apanui and Tairāwhiti translators and various kaimahi who are giving their time and energy to make this film a reality.

Ruha says “this kaupapa is a beautiful opportunity for our people to celebrate and extend our reo into new mediums such as film and media plaftorms. We look forward to the opportunity to share this with the thousands of tamariki who love Moana and will be able to see, feel and hear their own culture and language reflected back at them”.

Screenings of the film will take place during Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori – September 11-17th whose theme this year is “Kia ora te reo”. For all film updates, behind the scenes peeks and events please visit our facebook page


For centuries, the greatest sailors in the world masterfully navigated the vast Pacific,

discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, 3,000 years ago, their voyages stopped for a millennium – and no one knows exactly why. From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who is inspired to leave the safety and security of her island on adaring journey to save her people. Inexplicably drawn to the ocean, Moana (voice of Aulii Cravalho) convinces the mighty demigod Māui (voice of Dwayne Johnson) to join her mission, and he reluctantly helps her become a wayfinder like her ancestors who sailed before her. Together, they voyage across the open ocean on an action packed adventure, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfils her quest and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity. Moana is directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Princess & the Frog”), produced by Osnat Shurer (“Lifted,” “One Man Band”), and features music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa‘i.



Established in 2017 by founders Taika Waititi, Tweedie Waititi, and Chelsea Winstanley, the Matewa Media Trust is a non-profit organisation whose goal is to contribute to te reo Māori, the culture and indigenous stories.

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