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Matewa Media, in association with Disney, is proud to present the Maori-dubbed MOANA. The film’s release is to coincide with New Zealand’s Maori Language Week, which kicks off on Monday, and will run until September 17th. This dub of MOANA is highly anticipated, for according to the New Zealand Herald, some of the screenings in Auckland have already been sold out.

The project was first announced back in June, when a search was declared to find a young talent to take on the role of Moana. Out of the nearly 250 auditions submitted, the role wound up going to 16-year-old Jaedyn Randell. Maori Television news anchor Piripi Taylor will be bringing life to Maui the demigod, and all the original New Zealand cast members, such as Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, and Jemaine Clement, will be reprising their roles.

The idea for MOANA being eventually dubbed into Maori was something that Taika Waititi, who’s been heading the project, knew he wanted to see happen, as it’s been a dream of his to see mainstream films dubbed in Maori.

“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,” he said. “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.”

The Maori-dubbed MOANA would not have been possible without the hard work of its three translators; Vikky Demant, Waldo Houia, and Katarina Edmonds. The three University of Auckland staff members were approached by New Zealand producer Tweedie Waititi (who’s also Taika’s sister), to see if they were interested into taking on the hefty task. Despite the late nights and challenges, the trio completed the translation – and that even includes the musical numbers – over three working weeks.

While there is currently no word as to whether or not this dub of MOANA will be made available internationally, for New Zealand fans of the film, it won’t be long now.

(SIDE NOTE: If you’re a non-Maori speaking New Zealander who’s planning to see the film, please note that there will be no subtitles. However, if you know the film well enough, then everything else should fall into place.)

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