I’m so proud of Disney’s Team of Researchers when it came to making Moana, because it made me, a proud Polynesian girl feel relatable to a Disney character. Now Polynesia consist of many islands, each with their own unique style. I thought it would be nice to share some of the elements used in Moana from my own Polynesian culture, the Maori culture, so that Moana fans can understand the significance or just something new. 

Te Fiti’s Heart

This Spiral Pattern is known as a ‘Koru’ and can be found in many types of Maori Art including: Carvings, Jewellery, Tattoos and Paintings. It is inspired by a plant native to New Zealand known as ‘Ponga’ or ‘The Silver Fern’.

Her Heart is also inspired by a rock precious to our people called ‘Pounamu’ or ‘Green stone’ which is a variant of Jade. We use it mainly for Jewellery nowadays but it was also used to make weapons back in the day. 


A Hongi is a traditional greeting and farewell used by Maori people by pressing noses. It symbolises exchanging the breath of life to one another.

Moana uses the Hongi several times in the movie but her Hongi with Te Fiti seems like the most important and special to me. 

Moana’s Necklace

Moana’s Necklace is made out of a Abalone Shell which we call ‘Paua’ and can be found throughout many countries around the world, however the featured shell here is a type you find in New Zealand  once you polish back its nacre. The shell is used in our arts including: Carvings and Jewellery.

There are so many more elements used in this movie from the other Polynesian Islands that I cannot name but hopefully someone else can add to this post to share our beautiful and rich cultures. 

Time for a Coffee Break

“Continue Pouring Until Pouring is No Longer an Option”

  1. Sam Kalda
  2. Dunken K. Blithe from Your Coffee Guru on Tumblr
  3. Found on We Have Your Beard on Tumblr
  4. Found on Doll Meat on Tumblr
  5. Maori Sakai
  6. Found on Stupid Teletubbie on Tumblr
  7. Blank Papyrus

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Here is my entry for this month’s #CDChallenge for the #Maoriwarrior theme. I have no idea how I ended up making a chicken for this one. After doing a bunch of explorations of badass Maori warriors (humans), I did a small doodle of a chicken in a corner of a page and went ‘Yeeeeup’.  #lifechoices

Portrait of Pare Watene of Ngāti Maru in 1878, by Gottfried Lindauer.  Her chiefly status is confirmed by the rare huia feathers in her hair and the Pounamu Meré (Jade hand-axe) in her hand.  The Meré is a traditional close-combat one-handed weapon, and is a symbol of chieftanship.  She is also shown wearing a Hei-tiki, an ornamental pendant which is typically made of Pounamu.  Hei-tiki are considered taonga (treasures).

Finally finished. After a series of activity on the NZ fault lines, including a good one in Wellington, a documentary played on Australian TV about the Christchurch quake, and a very rare, small as it may have been, tremor in NSW, all whilst I played around with this carving - I thought it best to name this piece ‘Ruaumoko’, the God of earthquakes.

To the wonderful strength of the people of Christchurch. Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa.