It's Polynesia - but not as we know it.
The South Pacific of the animated Disney film Moana will be a kind of non-specific, timeless, pre-European Pasifika, judging by an in-progress preview of the movie at the recent D23 expo in Anaheim, California.
Moana is the first Disney film to focus on the traditions and myths of the Pacific - including the legendary Maori figure, Maui.
Kiwi film-maker Taika Waititi (Boy) helped co-write the script before leaving the project to star in and co-direct his vampire spoof What We Do in the Shadows. He's been there before, sort of - back in the early noughties, Waititi and Jemaine Clement co-wrote and performed the play The Untold Tales of Maui.
Waititi shares a writer's credit with the film's directors John Musker and Ron Clements, who together were responsible for Disney classics The Little Mermaid (1989) and Aladdin (1992).
"The origin of this story," says Musker, "lies in research on the great navigators of the South Pacific and how they ventured forth in wooden boats to navigate the world."
As Clements explains it, Moana is set between 2000 and 3000 years ago, when there was an inexplicable lack of Polynesian expansion. "So in the 16-year-old character of Moana, whose name means 'ocean, we have a character who is willing to explore when her society tells her it is forbidden. Moana wants to be a wave finder, like her ancestors. She is helped along by a demi-god named Maui, meaning 'mighty hook'."
Oh yes, that guy. Speaking as a representative of a nation where everyone grows up learning about Maui and how he fished up New Zealand with his hook, it's pretty amazing to see him show up among familiar imagery in a lushly-rendered Disney context.
As if that weren't enough, Maui is voiced in the film by none other than Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, the half-Samoan superstar who famously spent some of his childhood in Auckland's Grey Lynn.
"It's incredibly humbling," Johnson says of being chosen to lend his voice to the project. "And it also makes myself and my family and our heritage, our culture, our Polynesian culture, just extremely proud. I am just so deeply connected with this story. I am half-Samoan, half-black, so it is about my culture."
Musker and Clements explain that the Pacific Ocean is a character in the film, as seen in an unbearably cute clip featuring a toddler-age Moana interacting with personality-infused waves breaking on an island beach.
We also meet a living volcanic island named Te Whiti, and Moana's requisite Disney animal sidekicks - Pua the pig and a chicken named Heihei.
Moana joins an ever-expanding squad of Disney princesses. Despite rumours linking pop singer Dinah Jane Hansen to the title role, Disney isn't confirming any of the voice cast beyond Johnson.
Hansen is a member of Fifth Harmony, a girl group that came third in the second season of X Factor USA and had a hit single this year with Worth It. Hansen is an American of Polynesian and Danish descent
But it's Maui who seems positioned to be the film's breakout star.
"His legend and his reputation precedes him," Johnson says. "And he comes upon Moana, and they find each other. I love that some of the greatest lessons, if not the greatest lesson, comes from a young person teaching an older person. And it's empowering to her, this young girl. So to be able to play the character is a lot of fun. The sessions are amazing. It's a different process from live action, in terms of making movies. But certainly one that I really enjoyed."
Music in Moana will be provided by Te Vaka, the New Zealand band which has been led by Opetaia Foa'i (Tokelau/Tuvalu/Samoa) for 20 years.
Moana is due for release in November next year.