One of the most well known animated Disney princesses, Moana the Pepe is a 16-year-old who lives on a palm tree on the island of Moai. Although Moana was originally from the fictional green island Motunui, many 3,000-year-old stories have been derived about Moana’s home on earth. From her birthright to live on an island, Moana’s ability to speak the language of the natives of Moai is the beginning of her story.
Once Moana arrives on earth, she must quickly learn to adapt to new ways of life on earth. Being from Moai, she must quickly learn how to speak the Hawaiian language. As a result, Moana often barks at people, which often leads to her being thought of as an annoying character. When Moana makes a comment in a story that shows her knowledge of the Hawaiian language, her father tells her not to speak with too much noise, as clapping can cause the native islanders to become upset. It is this example of her father’s disapproval of her speaking that first introduces Moana to the concept of not speaking too much.
From her early years on earth, Moana’s greatest dream is to find out where Hawaii is. To do so, she must use her newly found abilities to find the fabled land of the Fiti. Te Fiti, pronounced “tee’ fiti”, is a legendary realm of powerful ghosts, monsters, and other denizens of the deep sea. Although the te fiti is on Moai, there are no visible signs of it on the island of Hawaii.
So where did moana come from if she does not have te fiti? Some speculate that Moana came from the Tahiti Island (which is south of Hawaii). The name Tahiti is derived from a Tahitian word, “tahiti” which means “desert”. Some also think that Moana could be from Te Motu Nui, a small island located off the coast of Oahu, which has a significant Polynesian influence. The island of Motu Nui was once an important trade center for Polynesian goods, including maui, tanned skin, gold jewelry, and wood.
In recent times, Tahiti became a favorite stop for Polynesian cruise ships. One theory is that Moana was a princess whose tribe, the la’s, were taken over by the marauding Tahitian warriors. She may have been born on the Tahiti Islands and given up her citizenship to live on the Hawaiian Islands with her people. After being displaced from her homeland, Moana lived in an oasis on one of the Hawaiian islands, where she became famous as the “Green Princess”. There are many stories about how Moana lived on the Hawaiian Islands, and even had two bodies: a human-like one and a ghost-like one.
So, now we know where Moana from Hawaii is from. The most likely place to find her today is, of course, on the green beach of Kamloops, but there are other locations as well. Moana’s exact location is unknown, but she is most likely a member of the Polynesian race known as the Hokuian, which lives on Kauai and Oahu. The most obvious place for her to have stayed is at a marina, as that is where the Polynesians were won’t to anchor their boats. Another possibility is that Moana spent some time living amongst the Waikiki locals, as she would have met them while roaming the popular Waikiki Beach.
One of the most interesting things we have to look at in regards to Moana, however, is her exact relationship to her home world. While it was already established that Moana lived on the Hawaiian Islands, it is not exactly clear where she came from. One theory offered by a Hawaiian researcher suggests that Moana was actually an ancient Polynesian princess who was thrown overboard when her ship was wrecked at sea. There is also some evidence that Moana was cast into deep water by a volcano, which could account for her disorientation and amnesia as she traveled across the Hawaiian Islands.
Whether or not Moana was a real Polynesian princess, it is certain that she enjoyed a powerful connection to the Hawaiian Islands. Her most significant language is Polynesian, which means ocean in Hawaiian. The kahunlihi is the language of the Hawaiians, and it also means ‘great river.’ This may explain why Moana speaks with a Hawaiian-accented kahuna voice, even though the only language she knows is her native tongue. But even if Moana was not a princess of the Hawaiian Islands, one has to wonder what her connection to the deep waters really meant. Is she simply traveling through time, or can she be considered a link to the ocean from our world?