Polynesian myth comes to life in the Walt Disney computer animation Moana (2016) with the daughter of the village chief in the thick of it.

Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) is the village chief’s daughter who has been told, along with the other villagers, that they have never been explorers. This message, however false, keeps the islanders safe.

Moana (Pictured)
Moana (Pictured)

“Don’t go past the reef,” the chief Tui (Tamuera Morrison) says. There’s danger beyond the reef, he says. (It reminds me of my swimming days. So far was too far.)

But Moana is on a recovery mission which will take her beyond the reef.



On the island, coconuts have rotted and other dramatic occurrences.

The life on the island has departed, when the heart of the goddess Te Fiti is taken away by Maui.

But restoring Te Fiti’s heart will restore life to the island.

Moana’s mission is to find Te Fiti and restore her heart.

So Moana goes beyond the reef. Her motive is for the health of the village.

Better to be alive than dead.

On the seas

When she’s on the ocean on a boat, the sea and wind are treating her the right way.

Moana (1)Maui (Dwayne Johnson) may be there to help, too, if this muscly hunk of demi-god can be bothered. Moana has a hard job of convincing him to help because he’s the one who stole Te Fiti’s heart in the first place.



A lot to love about the myth of this movie. One soul courageously braves the dangerous seas to restore the flow of life, even when she is not supposed to go beyond the reef.

We somehow need to get back to life when things go wrong. Getting back to life is natural and part of our bones.

The powers of life animate the world and make us sing. The sad thing is that when life is diminished for too long, people groan, because they really want to have life back. Even so, it’s better to be flawed somehow but alive, than to be dead alive.

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