Despite Claims of Authenticity, Disney’s Moana Still Offensive
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FEATURING TINA NGATA – Just in time for Thanksgiving Disney has released its much anticipated new film, Moana. Set among Pacific islands, Moana tells the story of a young girl with magical powers, played by Auli’i Cravalho, and the demigod Maui played by Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock.
While Moana has been touted as being Disney’s most authentically crafted film about an indigenous culture, critics have pointed out that the company’s massive commodification and marketing apparatus threatens to undermine any claims of respect for native communities. Indeed, Disney’s disastrous pre-Halloween rollout of a Maui “skin suit” costume displayed the mega corporation’s agenda: to repackage nonwhite cultures for mass consumption.
Tina Ngata, is an indigenous rights advocate, environmentalist, and educator for New Zealand’s largest indigenous university. She delivers degree level education on the links between indigenous heritage, rights and environmental wellbeing.