Kia ora e hoa, Moana!

The te reo version of Disney's popular animated film - Moana - is to be shown in New Zealand cinemas next week.

The release of Moana Reo Maori coincides with Te Wiki o te reo Maori, or Maori Language Week, which runs from Monday to Sunday, September 17.

This year's theme, "Kia ora te reo Maori'', celebrates the country's indigenous greeting, which also describes the intent of new partnerships for te reo Maori revitalisation between the Crown and Maori under the new Maori Language Act 2016.


The adaptation of the hugely successful movie, which was released late last year, was undertaken with the help of Matewa Media in association with Disney.

It is expected to attract huge crowds, with some screenings in Auckland already sold out.

However, for those non-te reo speakers, be warned - there are no subtitles.

Tokoroa teenager Jaedyn Randell, 16, is the voice behind Moana Motuliki; while Kiwi actress Rachel House, who features in the original film, makes another appearance as the voice of Moana's grandmother, Gramma Tala.

Maori Television's Te Kaea news anchor Piripi Taylor has big shoes to fill as he takes on the voice of demigod Maui, whose voice is played by American wrestler turned actor Dwayne The Rock Johnson in the original.

Kāre e roa e te iwi!!! just under a week to go!! Here's a little teaser!

Posted by Moana Reo Māori on Monday, 4 September 2017

Bringing the new version together has not been an easy feat and required three lecturers from the University of Auckland to translate the entire script in three weeks.

The film's iconic songs - including the catchy We Know The Way, written by Te Vaka's Opetaia Foa'i and American composer Lin-Manuel Miranda - have also been translated.

Those involved were Katarina Edmonds and Waldo Houia, who are lecturers at the faculty of Education, and Vikki Demant , the faculty's marae administrator.


Edmonds said they were keen to get involved after being asked to take on the mammoth task by the film's New Zealand producer, Tweedie Waititi, who is the sister of executive producer, Taika Waititi.

"In writing the script in Maori, there were challenges. But they did not affect our motivation and desire to be part of this monumental and exciting task.

"We didn't even have a clear idea of what was ahead. We just said yes because Tweedie had asked us,'' Edmonds said.

"We knew and trusted that whatever she had in mind would be of great benefit to Maori and te reo Maori.''

As well as te reo, Moana has also been translated into Tahitian.

**To see events being held for Maori Language Week, visit: Te Wiki o te reo Maori.