Hawaiian-language version of ‘Moana’ distributed to Hawaii schools
  • Wednesday, February 20, 2019
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Hawaiian-language version of ‘Moana’ distributed to Hawaii schools

  • Students, alumni and faculty of five University of Hawaii programs joined Disney star Aulii Cravalho to bring the Hawaiian Language version of Moana to life.
    Video courtesy UH News

    Auliʻi Cravalho is the voice of the title character in Disney’s “Moana.”


The University of Hawaii announced earlier this week that the Hawaiian language version of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Moana” will be distributed for free to schools across the state following a year-long production.

“On behalf of the students, faculty, and staff from five UH campuses, our team who translated roughly 10,000 words, our student engineers who recorded 4,000 sound files, and our spectacular cast starting with Auliʻi Cravalho and the more than 30 locally cast olelo Hawaii speakers and singers who made this all come to life, we could not be prouder to be able to provide free copies of the Disney Moana Olelo Hawaii DVD to every accredited school in the state,” said Chris Lee, Academy for Creative Media director and founder in a news release. “This was an educational endeavor to encourage students to learn olelo Hawaii and we are so grateful to our partners at Disney Animation and Disney Character Voices International for making this possible.”

Moana, the story of an adventurous, teenage girl who embarks on a daring journey to save her island people, is the first Disney picture to be re-recorded in olelo Hawaii, or Hawaiian. It premiered at a World Oceans Day celebration at Ko Olina over the summer and was featured earlier this month at the Hawaii International Film Festival.

UH’s Academy for Creative Media System funded and coordinated the re-recording of “Moana.”

The movie stars Mililani’s Cravalho as the title character, UH-Manoa student Christopher Kaipulaumakaniolono Baker as Maui, Waianae’s Nicole Scherzinger as Sina, Kelikokauaikekai Hoe as Aliʻi Tui, Kalehuapuakeʻula Kawaʻa as Puna Tala, Kamakakehau Fernandez as Tamatoa and 24 locally-cast, Hawaiian-speaking actors and singers.

Staff from across various UH departments collaborated on the project.

Puakea Nogelmeier, professor of Hawaiian language and executive director of Awaiaulu, a nonprofit for Hawaiian-language translation training, oversaw a team of translators. Hailiʻopua Baker, professor of Hawaiian theatre at UH-Manoa, served as acting director. Ethnomusicologist Aaron J. Sala served as music director.

The film was re-recorded at Honolulu Community College’s MELE Studio and engineered by Jon Ross.

Heather Giugni, collections specialist and producer for UH West Oahu’s ʻUluʻulu, Hawaii’s moving image archive, and Sharla Hanaoka, director of creative media at UH-West Oahu, served as producers of the Hawaiian language-version of “Moana,” in cooperation with Rick Dempsey, senior vice president creative for Disney Character Voices International.

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