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Moana (Disney character)

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Moana character
First appearanceMoana (2016)
Created byRon Clements
John Musker
Voiced by
  • Auliʻi Cravalho
    Louise Bush (child)
    Auliʻi Cravalho
    (Ralph Breaks the Internet)
Full nameMoana Waialiki
TitlePrincess of Motunui
AffiliationDisney Princesses
FamilyChief Tui (father)
Sina (mother)
Tala (grandmother)

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Moana Waialiki is the title character and main protagonist of Disney's 56th animated feature Moana (2016). Created by directors Ron Clements and John Musker, Moana is originally voiced by the actress Auliʻi Cravalho.

Moana is the twelfth Disney Princess and the only Polynesian one. She is also the second Disney Princess to be single after Merida.


Conception and writing[edit]

The creative team decided to create for Moana a realistic model with which girls could identify themselves,[1] strong enough to be credible in activities like swimming, climbing a tree and jumping off a cliff.[2] To make the hair more realistic and expressive, a new program, Quicksilver, was created.[3] When Moana's voice actress was chosen, the appearance and personality of the protagonist had already been completed, so the shared resemblance between Auliʻi Cravalho and the character turned out to be a simple coincidence. Furthermore, during the animation process, the Disney animators were able to integrate some of Cravalho's mannerisms into Moana's behavior.[4]


Moana is voiced by Hawaiian singer Auliʻi Cravalho in the English and Hawaiian versions.

The directors auditioned hundreds of young women from the Pacific Islands. In October 2015, Auliʻi Cravalho was officially chosen as Moana's voice actress. Auliʻi was discovered during a charity event, without knowing that the agent who had attended those auditions was the same for Moana.[5] Agent Rachel Sutton confirmed that Auliʻi was the last girl to be seen on the last day of casting.[6] Producer Osnat Shurer said: "We were looking for someone who could embody the character, with all the strength and commitment, humor, heart and compassion. When we met Auliʻi, she was just bringing Moana to life."[7] Auliʻi described Moana as a strong girl with a big temperament, determined and courageous,[8] deeply fascinated by the ocean and eager to explore it,[9] calling her a model for everyone, not just for girls.[10] Auliʻi reprised the role in 2017, dubbing the character again in the special Hawaiian-language dubbing of the movie.[11][12]

Personality and design[edit]

Moana is an adventurous and stubborn girl who loves the ocean and legends. She takes her role as the new leader of Motunui very seriously, feeling at the same time her duty to honor the legacy that her skilled navigators left to her people. Indeed, despite being impulsive, she is also wise because she recognizes the importance of " knowing her mountain ", that is, the peoples and experiences that preceded her, to know herself.[13]

International versions[edit]

When the movie had its first theatrical release worldwide, it numbered 45 versions overall, including a special Tahitian-language dubbing created specifically for the movie.[14] In June 2017, a Māori-language version of the movie, featuring four voice-actors from the original English cast, was announced.[15] Three weeks later, New Zealander Jaedyn Randell was introduced as Moana's voice. The movie was released in September 2017.[16] In the same year, Shruti Rane (Hindi) reprised her role in the Bengali-language version of the movie. In November 2017, a Hawaiian-language dubbing was announced to be under way, with Auliʻi Cravalho reprising her role as Moana.[11] The movie premiered on June 10, 2018.[12]

In many European countries, Moana's name was changed to Vaiana due to a trademark conflict. Dubbings released in countries within as well as without Europe had to undergo a partial redub of all scenes where Moana's name was pronounced, changing it to Vaiana: that was the case of Auliʻi Cravalho in the English versions and of Cerise Calixte in the French ones released on the continent.[17][18][19] The film was released in those countries to bear the alternative name in the title.[20]

  Highlighted versions were released later than 2016



In other media[edit]

A "meta" version of the character appears with other Disney princesses in the Wreck-It Ralph sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet. When some of the princesses describe to Vanellope von Schweetz how they stare at "important water" to gain inspiration for their songs, Moana volunteers that she stares at the ocean. Later, when Ralph is falling from a tower and needs saving by the princesses, Moana causes water from a fountain to spiral upwards so that Elsa from Frozen can freeze it into a slide to slow Ralph's fall.


The Verge stated that Moana is a fully-rounded character with a believable, while still idealized body. They also praised her resourcefulness and the fact she does not end up partnered at the end of the film. [22] IGN conveyed that she is a wonderful role model for her perseverance and courage.[23] Victoria McNally states that she is the most revolutionary Disney Princess by not having a love interest, being a good leader, and embracing her culture.[24]


  1. Flaherty, Keely. "Moana Is A Disney Princess With A More "Realistic" Body Shape". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  2. Nast, Condé. "How Pacific Islanders Helped Disney's Moana Find Its Way". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  3. Desowitz, Bill; Desowitz, Bill (2016-11-22). "'Moana': How Disney Innovated Water and Hair for a Greater Hand-Drawn Aesthetic". IndieWire. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  4. News, A. B. C. "14 Things to Know About Disney's 'Moana' Before You See It". ABC News. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  5. "The 15-year-old actress in Disney's next animated movie never had to officially audition for the role". Business Insider France. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  6. Casting Moana - Introducing Auli‘i Cravalho, retrieved 2019-08-29
  7. "5 Things You Should Know About Disney's Moana Starring Auli'i Cravalho and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson". www.honolulumagazine.com. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  8. Auli'i Cravalho on Moana "She's inspiring to me", retrieved 2019-08-29
  9. Meet Moana a True Disney Princess | IMDb EXCLUSIVE, retrieved 2019-08-29
  10. ""Moana" Star Auli'i Cravalho is Not Your Average Disney Princess". www.honolulumagazine.com. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Instagram post by Auli'i • Nov 2, 2017 at 7:00pm UTC". Instagram. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Disney's Moana to make World Premiere in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi at Ko Olina's World Oceans Day, June 10". Ko Olina. May 1, 2018. Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  13. "Moana Directors Ron Clements and John Musker". ComingSoon.net. 2016-11-02. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  14. "'Moana' to be First Disney Film Translated Into Tahitian Language". EW.com. 2016-10-25. Retrieved 2017-01-11.
  15. Speak Māori (2017-06-08), Te Reo Māori Moana Casting, retrieved 2017-07-04
  16. disney portuguêsfrançais (2017-07-03), Meet the Maori Voices of Moana and Maui, retrieved 2017-07-04
  17. "VAIANA - trailer - Disney". YouTube. 19 September 2016. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  18. "Moana / Canadian French cast". CHARGUIGOU (in français). Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  19. "Moana / French cast". CHARGUIGOU (in français). Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  20. "La princesa Moana en España se llamará Vaiana (y otros problemas de branding)" [Princess Moana in Spain will be called Vaiana (and other branding problems)] (in Spanish). Verne (El País). October 11, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2015.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  21. "Moana/Vaiana". Charguigou. Retrieved 2020-01-13.
  22. Robinson, Tasha (26 November 2016). "Moana review: after 80 years of experiments, Disney has made the perfect Disney movie". The Verge. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  23. Goldman, Eric (14 November 2016). "Moana Review". IGN. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  24. McNally, Victoria (21 November 2016). "7 ways 'Moana' is the most revolutionary Disney Princess yet". Revelist. Retrieved 1 August 2020.

External links[edit]

Other articles of the topic Disney : AT&T-TimeWarner, American Broadcasting Company, Maui (Moana), List of Disney Princess firsts, Frozen 2, Draft:Untitled Star Wars/Kevin Feige Project, List of Disney Channel series
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