Fresh out of Pape’ete, Tahiti, the folks behind Disney’s upcoming film Moana have announced that casting is underway for actors to help translate the animated adventure into the Tahitian language, marking the first major motion picture to do so.
The announcement was made in front of Tahitian locals at a press conference in Pape’ete by producer Osnat Shurer and film story consultant Hinano Murphy (founder/director of the Te Pu Atiti’a Center and a key individual leading the translation with Disney).
From the filmmakers very first research trip to a handful of South Pacific islands, Moana has made careful strides to be culturally accurate and sensitive to Polynesian heritage. Shurer revealed that Hinano, whom she and directors John Musker and Ron Clements met on their first such trip to the Pacific Islands five years prior, had requested a Tahitian translation on their encounter. “We are so very excited that we, and the talented Disney Character Voices International team, are going to create this, and create this with Hinano,” said Shurer.
Murphy added, “Native languages, like Tahitian, are being lost; it is important to find new ways to excite the communities, elders, young adults and children here [in Tahiti] about our language. Hopefully, this will also inspire other Polynesian islanders to find innovative ways to teach their languages. We hope this version will be used as a teaching tool for many decades into the future.”
Moana will enjoy its theatrical release in the U.S. on Nov. 23. A French-dubbed version (titled Vaiana: La Legende du Bout du Monde) will arrive in Tahiti on Nov. 30; the Tahitian-language version will be announced at a later date.