Moana is an historical story set on a fictional island, however the story, characters, and tradition depicted are drawn from actual Polynesian islands.
Disney’s Moana takes place within the Pacific Islands within the distant previous, however is there a extra detailed reply to the query of the place and when Moana is ready? The animated movie turned an immediate traditional as quickly because it hit theaters in 2016, and can return within the recently announced TV series on Disney+ in 2023.
Moana‘s catchy tunes, beautiful animation, and heartfelt story garnered rave critiques – nevertheless it was the dynamic and weak lead character, Moana, coupled with the wealthy and detailed setting, that basically made Moana work. Moana’s story focuses closely on tradition, custom, and generational expertise, all of which have been handed down for hundreds of years by oral traditions by the various peoples of Oceania – a area within the South Pacific Ocean containing greater than 10,000 islands.
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The identify Moana, which suggests ocean in a number of Polynesian languages, is a tribute to the life-force that connects all of Oceania. Moana attracts inspiration from parts of varied cultures all through Oceania, however there are just a few indicators that place Moana in a particular geographic location and time limit.
The place Does Moana Take Place?
The manufacturing group that labored on Moana took a number of journeys to the South Pacific and visited many places together with Aotearoa (the Maori identify for New Zealand), Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa, Hawaii, and Fiji. Moana’s dwelling island, Motunui, is fictional, however the manufacturing group drew a map of Moana’s journey (which might be discovered within the ebook The Artwork of Moana) that locations Motunui east of Tonga, close to the real-world location of Niue. Te Fiti’s island was primarily based on Tahiti. Whereas Moana combines aspects of many Polynesian cultures, there are just a few islands that extra carefully resemble Motunui than others.
Geographically and visually, Motunui carefully resembles Tutuila and Tetiꞌaroa – each of which had been reportedly visited by Disney’s manufacturing group. Culturally, Motunui has plenty of similarities to Samoa. The dwellings on Motunui resemble the Samoan fale, the phrase tattoo originates from the Samoan tatau in addition to the standard male tattoo Pe’a (although it must be famous that tatau is part of many Polynesian cultures). Maui is a hero and trickster in varied mythologies, however a demigod or kolohe in Samoa (like in Moana), and the music “We Know The Method” incorporates some lyrics in Tokelauan – which, in accordance with Tokelauan composer Opetaia Foa’i, resembles Samoan carefully sufficient that Samoan audio system can perceive Tokelauan [via The Spinoff].
When Does Moana Take Place?
In line with archaeologists, folks first arrived within the Western Polynesian islands roughly 3,500 years in the past, however “after arriving in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, Polynesians took a break – for nearly 2,000 years – earlier than voyaging forth once more” [via Smithsonian Magazine]. This centuries-long time frame is called The Lengthy Pause, which impressed a plot level in Moana. Moana is ready about 2,000 years in the past, which might have been someday throughout The Lengthy Pause. In Moana, the folks of Motunui by no means journey past the reef due to a longstanding custom that isn’t absolutely defined in Moana. By the top of the movie, Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) rediscovers the history of her ancestors, who had been voyagers and wayfinders.
It’s been theorized that The Lengthy Pause was brought on by inadequate know-how to beat the robust winds that prevented the peoples of Polynesia from voyaging eastward [via The New York Times]. Different theories embody that The Lengthy Pause ended as a result of “a favorable wind brought on by a sustained interval of El Niño, to seen supernovas luring the stargazing islanders to journey, to ciguatera poisoning brought on by algae blooms.” As soon as they found out the way to overcome their obstacles, the traditional Polynesians resumed their explorations and “found and settled almost each inhabitable island within the central and japanese Pacific” [via Smithsonian Magazine].
Moana is a new kind of Disney princess film that options an extremely advanced heroine whose story focuses on her private development, household, and friendship – all with out the necessity for creating romantic attachments. Whereas the movie nonetheless bore its share of criticism, Moana marked a brand new chapter of movie manufacturing for Disney, the place the manufacturing group collaborated with folks throughout Oceania to create an inspiring and beloved movie.
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