Disney’s Frozen and Lion King in te reo Māori

By Jessica Tyson

Production is underway to create a Māori language version of Walt Disney films Frozen and The Lion King.

In collaboration with the Walt Disney Studios, the production is being led by Matewa Media,  which also created Moana in te reo in 2017.

Matewa Media directors Chelsea Winstanley and Tweedie Waititi say it was always a dream of theirs to dub more Disney films that tāmariki love into te reo Māori.

“We are extremely thrilled to continue this journey with The Walt Disney Company. It clearly demonstrates their commitment as a company to diversity and inclusion.”

Matewa Media was established in 2017 and is dedicated to the retention, use and development of te reo Māori within film and media.

2022 releases

 “Kia taorotia te reo Māori ki ngā uri puta noa, puta noa! For our language to thrive, it must reach the hearts and homes of our people,” Waititi says.

The Lion King Reo Maori will premiere in Aotearoa and Australia in June 2022 to align with Matariki (Māori New Year), and Frozen Reo Maori will premiere in September 2022 to align with Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week).

Kylie Watson-Wheeler from Walt Disney Company Australia and New Zealand says the company is "truly excited" to bring the Māori versions of The Lion King and Frozen to Kiwi audiences following on from the successful release of Moana Reo Māori.

“The launch of Moana Reo Māori was an incredibly special moment for our New Zealand-based team, and we know that continuing to celebrate the indigenous language with the addition of these cherished films will mean a lot to the local community.”

Moana Reo Māori launches - September 2017