Jemaine Clement Rocks Song from Moana In Māori Language

The beauty and adventure captured in Moana was skillfully delivered thanks to Disney’s investment in researching the Polynesian culture in an authentic way. Moana has now been translated into Māori, a native New Zealand language, and the result is breathtaking. Native New Zealand actor and musician, Jemaine Clement, played the greedy crab deity Tamatoa in the original version, and now Disney has released an audio recording of his Māori version.

Clement was wickedly fun as Tamatoa, and his comedic timing even earned him a hilarious post credits scene. The selfish crab was a treasure obsessed villain who hoarded valuables, including Maui’s magical hook. Clement’s performance was simultaneously funny, scary, and endearing.

Alternate versions are often dubbed by talented actors native to the translated language, so it’s amazing to hear Clement tackle both versions. The song is a real tongue twister in English, and the translation is just as much of a challenge. For starters, “shiny” translates to “piata mai nei.”

It’s exciting that native Māori speakers will get to enjoy Moana free from subtitles, thanks to the brilliant actors and translation from Tweedie Waititi. If you haven’t already put it together, Tweedie is Thor: Ragnarok director and actor Taika Waititi’s sister. Get your pen and paper out, because the connections get even crazier. Clement starred in Taika Waititi’s films What We Do in the Shadows and Eagle vs Shark, so these artists have done a lot of collaborating.

The Māori version is available to listen to on Disney’s VEVO. You’ll definitely be hooked and left wanting to the Moana soundtrack all over again. One thing is certain, we have a renewed appreciation for Moana’s incredible culture.

Featured Image: Moana Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios



Kelle Long

Kelle has written about film and TV for The Credits since 2016. Follow her on Twitter @molaitdc for interviews with really cool film and TV artists and only occasional outbursts about Broadway, tennis, and country music. Please no talking or texting during the movie. Unless it is a musical, then sing along loudly.