Disney’s “Moana” Stirs Controversy Over The Portrayal Of “Maui”

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Pretty sure no one saw this coming but according to Jenny Salesa, a member of New Zealand’s Parliment, the character Maui is too fat and portrays Polynesians in a negative light.

From Jenny Salesa’s Facebook page:

“When we look at photos of Polynesian men and women from the last 100-200 years, most of our people were not overweight and this negative stereotype of Maui is just not acceptable, no thanks to Disney. The environment our kids grow up in and what they are exposed to have a role to play. Disney movies are very influential on our children. It is great that Moana is the lead. However, it is disappointing that Maui, one of our beloved historical ancestors from hundreds of years ago, who was a very strong man [and] a skilled navigator, is depicted to be so overweight in this kids’ movie.”

“Maui” as potrayed is Disney’s “Moana”.


People are taking sides after Salesa’s comments and some are defending her while others think she is overreacting. Here are some Twitter reactions:




“Maui The Demigod”


I did some research into Maui and above is you traditional portrayal of the demigod Maui from Polynesian mythology. These depictions do show Maui to be incredibly strong (Maui lassoed the sun and pulled it down from the sky! For crying out loud!), he is very cut and he is in really good shape. So maybe for some Polynesians, that is how they always imagined him to be and I can see it being a bit of a shock to them.

“Maui” getting ready for action!


My personal opinion is that I dont think Disney is portraying the character Maui to be fat. In the above picture, he doesn’t look fat at all. He’s a big guy but he definitely is depicted with some big guns.

Some professional powerlifters. “Maui” says hi.


To me, Maui looks like a lot of guys at my gym and they are called “powerlifters”. A powerlifter is not looking to get cut or have killer abs but what they want to do is increase their strength and maximize how much they can lift. They focus on such routines as squats. deadlifts and bench pressing. A lot of linebackers in the NFL are powerlifters and have a similar physique.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson voices the demigod, “Maui”.


Also Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is portraying Maui and I am pretty sure if he was offended by Maui’s depiction, he would have spoken up and said something.

So what is your opinion? Do you think that Disney’s depiction of Maui is disrespectful to Polynesian culture or is this another case of someone making a big deal out of nothing?

Source: Yahoo News


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About the author

Joe Hogarty

Joe moved from New York to Florida back in 1997. He currently resides in St. Petersburg and visits the parks frequently. His first visit to the Magic Kingdom was when he was 8 years old back in 1974. Joe originally originally started as a photographer for WDWNT and is now the host of WDWNT: Nerd Alert, our movie reviewer and reports the news for WDWNT. You can contact Joe through email at [email protected]

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