Many Question Disney’s Depiction of Demigod Maui in Moana


In Walt Disney Animation Studio’s upcoming film “Moana“, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson portrays demigod Maui. For those unfamiliar with what a demigod is, it is an ancestor which exhibits both human and godly characteristics, a very important aspect of Hawaiian creation myths. The character of Maui is based on the Hawaiian demigod of the same name, but his physical appearance has many critics, artists, and even politicians stating their opinions.

The Washington Post reported that Jenny Salesa, a member of New Zealand’s parliament posted to her Facebook page:

“When we look at photos of Polynesian men & women from the last 100-200 years, most of our people were not overweight and this negative stereotype of Maui is just not acceptable.”

In reference to the Maui body-type controversy, Wil Ilolahia of the Pacific Media Association described his portrayal as “typical American stereotyping.”

In contrast to these views who feel the “Moana” depiction of Maui is negative, others, such as Samoan artist Michel Mulipola found his body-type to be a positive thing: “Thick build represents power and strength.”



It’s hard to say exactly what Maui should look like, Disney and everyone else in their imagination could have different views of him, as there are no images of Maui, since he is very sacred to Tongan culture.

You can take a closer look at the demigod Maui in “Moana” in the official teaser trailer below:

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2 thoughts on “Many Question Disney’s Depiction of Demigod Maui in Moana

  1. You know you ppl who always wanna write negative stuff about everything it’s a kids movie jesus

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