Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Disney is impressed very with the reo Māori rendition of the popular film Frozen, calling it "another standout performance" following the release of Lion King Reo Māori just four months ago.
"The exact words were 'another standout performance'. I think that this was always the vision to showcase the might of our talent that exists here in Aotearoa and our ability to crack it on a world stage," musical director Rob Ruha (Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Ngāti Porou) says.
The film premiered in Newmarket, Auckland on Wednesday.
Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi, journalists Oriini Kaipara and Scotty Morrison and singer Teeks attended the black-tie event.
The original Frozen was released almost a decade ago and is one of Disney's highest-grossing films, earning $1.3 billion in box office returns, but te reo Frozen producer Chelsea Winstanley (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi) says the new generation of reo speakers will grow up knowing Disney "princesses" who share their language.
"Some of these babies, with Lion King and with Frozen, they wouldn't even know the English version of that. They would only know it in te reo Māori and I just think that's so wonderful.
"For our babies to be able to experience and hear their language in such big public spaces like this, to make it māmā to make it Māori, to make it normal, is so important for them."
Director/producer Tweedie Waititi (Te Whānau-ā-Apanui), says this movie plays a part in the normalisation of te reo Māori.
"I think these films have a place in the revitalisation, the survival and the celebration of te reo Māori."
Tweedie announced at the premiere that there are already some more Disney Māori renditions in the pipeline, confirming Encanto, a family film based in Colombia, and Coco, inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday are next on the list.
Frozen Reo Māori opens in cinemas across the country today.
Winstanley says to keep seeing more of these films remade in Aotearoa's native tongue people "must go watch it. Watch it once, watch it twice, watch it three times!"