Categorized | Education, Entertainment

Disney Moana ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi set to be distributed to schools across Hawaiʻi


The cover for the Disney Moana ʻŌlelo Hawai‘i DVD.

The cover for the Disney Moana ʻŌlelo Hawai‘i DVD.

KAPOLEI — The ʻōlelo-HawaiÊ»i version of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Moana will be distributed to schools across the state as the culminating act of a year-long production that strives to encourage students to learn the Hawaiian language.

Moana, about an adventurous teenager who is inspired to leave the safety and security of her island on a daring journey to save her people, is the first Disney picture to be re-recorded in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.

“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 AuliÊ»i Cravalho and the over thirty locally cast ʻōlelo HawaiÊ»i 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 ʻŌlelo HawaiÊ»i DVD to every accredited school in the state,” Academy for Creative Media Director and Founder, Chris Lee, said. “This was an educational endeavor to encourage students to learn ʻōlelo HawaiÊ»i and we are so grateful to our partners at Disney Animation and Disney Character Voices International for making this possible.”

The University of HawaiÊ»i’s Academy for Creative Media System funded and coordinated the re-recording of Moana. The movie stars Cravalho, UH Mānoa student Christopher Kaipulaumakaniolono Baker as Maui, WaiÊ»anae’s Nicole Scherzinger as Sina, Kelikokauaikekai Hoe as Ali‘i Tui, KalehuapuakeÊ»ula KawaÊ»a as Puna Tala, Kamakakehau Fernandez as Tamatoa, and 24 locally-cast ʻōlelo HawaiÊ»i-speaking actors and singers.

Members from across the University of HawaiÊ»i system collaborated on the project: Dr. Puakea Nogelmeier, professor of Hawaiian Language and Executive Director of Awaiaulu, a nonprofit organization for Hawaiian-language translation training, oversaw a team of Awaiaulu’s translators; Hailiʻōpua Baker, Professor of Hawaiian Theatre at UH Mānoa’s Theatre department served as acting director; and Ethnomusicologist Aaron J. Salā served as music director. The film was re-recorded at Honolulu Community College’s MELE Studio and engineered by Jon Ross. Collections specialist and producer for UH West OÊ»ahu’s ‘UluÊ»ulu, HawaiÊ»i’s moving image archive Heather Giugni and Sharla Hanaoka, Director of Creative Media at UH West OÊ»ahu, served as producers of the Hawaiian language-version of Moana, in cooperation with Rick Dempsey, SVP Creative, for Disney Character Voices International.

Note: Media is encouraged to attend the celebration on Friday, Nov. 30, at Honolulu Community College Dining Hall, from 5-7 p.m. Cast and producers will be on hand for interviews by request. Assets from the production can be found at: Please contact Leila Wai Shimokawa at for additional information.

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