Moana Reo Māori to launch on Disney+

By Te Ao - Māori News

Disney+ says Moana Reo Māori will premiere on the service on June 26 in New Zealand and Australia.

The Māori language version of Walt Disney Animations Studios Academy Award®-nominated animated feature Moana was created by Taika Waititi (director, Thor Ragnarok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople), Chelsea Winstanley (producer Jo Jo Rabbit) and Tweedie Waititi’s Matewa Media Trust, and supported by Te Mangai Paho, with production led by Waititi in collaboration with The Walt Disney Studios.

Chelsea Winstanley said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and extend our indigenous language and culture into new media platforms. Following the successful launch of Disney+ across both New Zealand and Australia it’s exciting that people can enjoy Moana Te Reo again and again for years to come.”

The premiere date for the service also aligns with the start of the Matariki festival period.

 “We’re excited to be able to bring the Māori version of Moana to Disney+ for fans, families and streamers to enjoy from June 26,” The Walt Disney Company Australia & New Zealand senior vice-president and managing director Kylie Watson-Wheeler said.

“When the movie was first released it became an instant hit among Kiwi audiences, showcasing the beauty and history of Pacific culture. We know that it means a lot for the local community that Moana will now be available in Māori, on demand,” she added. 

The Te Reo recording process included actors Rachel House (“Gramma Tala”), Temuera Morrison (“Chief Tui”), Jemaine Clement (“Tamatoa”) and Oscar Kightley (“Fisherman”) reprising their roles and they were joined by upcoming new Waikato talent Jaedyn Randell (“Moana”), seasoned Maori media Personality, and host of Māori television's Te Ao Mārama, Piripi Taylor (“Māui”) and Wāhine entrepreneur Amanda Ashton (“Sina”).

The production team praised the musical talent involved in this project including multi-award winning composer and soloist Rob Ruha as musical director as well as Maisey Rika, Cilla Ruha, Tawaroa Kawana and Tommy Waititi. Matewa Media also acknowledged Te Whānau ā Apanui and Tairāwhiti translators and various kaimahi who gave their time and energy to make this film a reality.