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Moana is a new kind of Disney princess film, with an extremely complex heroine whose story is focused on her personal development, family, and friendship rather than romantic relationships. Although the film was not without its flaws, it did usher Disney into a new era of filmmaking. It quickly became a worldwide favorite and the only question left in the air was when exactly all of this takes place.
Moana takes place before an event historians refer to as the Long Pause which would put the movie around 3500 years ago in western Polynesia.
The story is quite different from what Disney usually produces which is why it quickly gained a lot of attention. Despite a bit of initial backlash, it remains a fan favorite, so if you want to learn more about this topic make sure to read the article all the way through.
When does Moana take place in history?
Archaeologists estimate that people first arrived in the Western Polynesian islands about 3,500 years ago, but that Polynesians took a break for nearly 2,000 years after settling in Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga before voyaging forth again.
Moana takes place about 2,000 years ago, around the time of The Long Pause. Because of a long-standing tradition that isn’t completely clarified in Moana, the people of Motunui never venture beyond the reef. Moana rediscovers her ancestors’ past as voyagers and wayfinders by the end of the film.
The Long Pause is thought to have been induced by a lack of technology to combat the powerful winds that stopped Polynesians from sailing eastward. Other hypotheses include ciguatera poisoning triggered by algae blooms, a favorable wind caused by a prolonged duration of El Nio, visible supernovas luring the stargazing islanders to travel, and visible supernovas luring the stargazing islanders to travel.
The ancient Polynesians resumed their explorations after overcoming their hurdles, finding and settling nearly every inhabitable island in the central and eastern Pacific.
Where does Moana take place in history?
The events depicted in the movie take place on a fictional island called Motunui. It is located somewhere in the South Pacific and is the home of our protagonist, Moana.
Motunui was discovered and founded by a family of voyagers led by the great Matai Vasa, who was created by the island goddess Te Fiti. They staked their claim to the land by forming a flourishing village together.
While the younger generation would eventually leave the island to continue voyaging and exploring new lands, Matai Vasa and the rest of his people stayed. Te Fiti’s life-giving heart was stolen by the demigod Maui, who gave birth to hideous darkness that spread throughout the globe.
This darkness was accompanied by sea-dwelling monsters that lurked in the ocean, destroying everything that crossed their course.
The island doesn’t actually exist in real life, however, the location given in the movie is probably similar to its real-life counterparts since most of the locations seen in the movie are based on places from the same geographical area.
The Moana production team traveled to the South Pacific on many occasions, visiting Aotearoa (New Zealand’s Maori name), Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa, Hawaii, and Fiji, among other places.
The production team drew a map of Moana’s journey (which can be found in the book The Art of Moana) that places Motunui east of Tonga, near the real-world location of Niue. Tahiti was the inspiration for Te Fiti’s island. Though Moana incorporates elements of many Polynesian cultures, there are a few islands that resemble Motunui more closely than others.
Motunui is similar to Tutuila and Tetiaroa in terms of geography and presentation, and both were officially visited by Disney’s production team. Motunui is culturally similar to Samoa in several respects. The houses on Motunui are built to look like a Samoan fale, and the word tattoo comes from the Samoan tatau, as does the traditional male tattoo Pe’a.
Maui is a trickster and hero in different mythologies, but a demigod or kolohe in Samoa (as in Moana), and the song “We Know The Way” includes some lyrics in Tokelauan, which, according to Tokelauan composer Opetaia Foa’i, is similar enough to Samoan that Samoan speakers can understand it.
What is Moana based on?
Moana is the story of a courageous princess who defies her family’s wishes and sails across the Pacific Ocean with a demigod to return a sacred artifact to an island deity because her people are running out of food on their island due to the curse the deity she placed on Moana’s people when the gem was stolen.
The hazards of the sea fade away once the stone is returned, and her people are free to wander the seas in search of food once more. Moana is a fictional character that does not exist and the demigod Maui has been a part of Polynesian mythology for centuries.
Around 3,500 years ago, settlers began to colonize Western Polynesia, according to historical records. However, they did not colonize the islands of Eastern and Central Polynesia for another 1,500 to 2,000 years. Historians are also uncertain as to why the Polynesians waited so long to migrate to other areas of Polynesia.
The producers at Disney decided to use this historical mystery to their advantage by creating the story of Moana and explaining the question which was confusing historians throughout the plot of their new feature-length animated movie.
Maui, according to Polynesian legend, had done a lot of good for the Polynesian people. He built the islands, taught man how to make fire, and encircled the sun with a lasso until it decided to extend the summer daylight.
However, there were a few things that the creators did not get right about the mythical demigod. For example, the mythological Maui is a young, slender immortal who is smart and brave. However, in the film, Maui requires the assistance of a young mortal girl to help him navigate the seas, which many critics believe makes him seem incompetent and dimwitted.
Maui’s power is bound to his larger-than-life mystical fish hook, as any kid who has seen the movie will tell you. Maui uses this fish hook to transform into various creatures and kill his enemies and adversaries in Moana. Maui did, according to Maori legend, have a fish hook.
Maui is said to have caught a massive fish with his fish hook one day, and that fish became the North Island, according to Maori legend.
One of the most memorable elements of the movie was the Kakamora. These are the little guys who try to accost Moana and Maui while they’re sailing in the movie. They resemble little coconuts with sprouted arms and legs, and despite their role as villains in the film, you can’t help but like them.
The Kakamora are small animals that live in forests and caves, according to Pacific culture. You could think of them as tiny personifications of Mother Nature since they are said to protect the forests and have no affection for humans legend has it that they would eat humans if they ever got hungry.
Another character originating from Polynesian mythology is Tamatoa who is, in the opinion of many fans, the most interesting character in the film. He’s the underworld’s giant crab, and he and Maui fight it out as Maui tries to reclaim his missing hook from the gigantic crustacean.