Did you know that sailing across the ocean in a voyaging canoe isn’t just something Moana did in a Disney animated feature? And that some of Maui’s Wayfinding teachings are inspired by real-life Polynesian navigational techniques?
It’s true. All of it.
Welcome to true stories of Hōkūleʻa – Hawaii’s voyaging canoe – as told by her crew, our real-life Moanas. Traditional wayfinding had gone extinct in Polynesia until Hōkūleʻa was built by the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) in 1973.
With hard work and sacrifice, Hōkūleʻa and her crew became the first to navigate across the seas as their ancestors did over 600 years ago, using only traditional wayfinding techniques. Read more about Wayfinding like Moana here.
Feel the cool sea breeze brush across your face. Smell the salty mist as waves lap against your canoe. Squint into the mesmerizing glare as a thousand blazing suns reflect off the water. See the possibilities beyond the horizon, where the sky meets the sea. Be as one with the ocean, and the myriad of species she nurtures within her. This was the inner calling of a Wayfinder named Moana.
This was also the calling of ancient Polynesian voyagers who populated the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Europeans who ‘discovered’ the Pacific islands (on their large ships) found it miraculous that the Polynesian islanders had sailed thousands of miles across open ocean in canoes. They navigated without GPS. Or a sextant. Or a compass.
Moana is the first Polynesian Princess to join the Disney ohana. Director and Producer team Ron Clements and John Musker (Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog) were joined by screenwriter Jared Bush (Zootopia), co-head of Animation Amy Smeed (Tangled, Frozen, Big Hero 6), and producer Osnat Shurer (Pixar shorts) on the “Moana: Art of Story” panel July 21, 2016 at San Diego Comic-Con.
We were lucky to get a closer glimpse into the next Disney Animated Feature, Moana.
(This article was originally published on LaughingPlace.com on July 27, 2016 as part of our Comic-Con coverage)
The Story of Moana
“Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows why.”
This is a tale of how Polynesians came to navigate across the seas again, and how one person made a difference.
Princess Moana Waialiki (Auli’i Cravalho) is the 16-year old daughter of Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison, Jango Fett, Star Wars). She is strong, independent-minded, “spitting vinegar” and a bit of a “Bada$$” as described by our panel.
With generations of sea-faring ancestry, Moana cannot resist the call of the ocean, despite her father’s decree that “no one goes beyond the reef.”