Thor: Ragnarok Director Taika Waititi and Walt Disney Animation Studios casting fluent te reo Māori speakers for Moana role and more.
Indigenous director Taika Waititi, most known for his recent directing of the Thor: Ragnarok movie to be released this year, has just announced on social media and on YouTube that The Walt Disney Animation Studios and Matewa Media will be dubbing a te reo Māori version of the Academy Award®-nominated animated feature Moana.
The recording process will take place over the next few months with actors Rachel House (Gramma Tala), Temuera Morrison (Chief Tui), Jemaine Clement (Tamatoa) and Oscar Kightley (Fisherman) reprising their roles. Rob Ruha, multi award-winning composer and solo artist, has joined the team as both Musical Director and as an integral part of the translation/adaptation team.
Release details are to be announced, with the goal to have the film shared both in festivals and on DVD for educational purposes in Aotearoa (New Zealand) and beyond.
“For indigenous audiences to hear films in their own language is a huge deal, helping to normalize the native voice and give a sense of identification. It also encourages our youth to continue with their love and learning of the language, letting them know their culture has a place in the world.”
“A few years ago, as we worked on the Moana script with the incredible Taika Waititi, he expressed a deep interest in creating a Māori language version of the film,” said Moana producer Osnat Shurer in the release. “We are so excited for Disney Character Voices International Team and the Matewa Media Trust to work together to make this a reality.”
About Matewa Media Trust
Established in 2017 by founders Taika Waititi, Tweedie Waititi, and Chelsea Winstanley, the Matewa Media Trust is a non-profit organization whose goal is to help preserve the Māori language, culture and indigenous stories.