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. 

The Koru - Maori Symbol of Creation

The koru (Māori for “loop”) is a spiral shape based on the shape of a new unfurling silver fern frond and symbolizing new life, growth, strength and peace. It is an integral symbol in Māori art, carving and tattoos. The circular shape of the koru helps to convey the idea of perpetual movement while the inner coil suggests a return to the point of origin.

Koru is the integral central motif of symbolic, seemingly-abstract kowhaiwhai designs, traditionally used to decorate Maori wharenui (meeting houses). There are numerous semi-formal designs, representing different features of the natural world.

Koru can also refer to bone carvings. Those generally take the shape of the uncurling fern plant. When bone is worn on the skin, it changes colour as oil is absorbed. The Māori took this to symbolise that the spirit of the person was inhabiting the pendant. When someone gives a pendant to someone else, it is the custom that they wear it for a time so that part of their spirit is given as well.


so! since mr. keneti james apa is becoming increasingly popular in celeb & bandom communities due to riverdales instantly popularity i’ve figured it’d be fun to put together a little resource of new zealand slang and other terms under the cut that you need to know when playing a new zealander. so often people are assuming he’s australian (stop this. do not do this. as funny as it is just don’t. it’s like assuming ireland & scotland are the same place). here you will find as much new zealand slang and tid bits of information that i can think of in order to help you understand our special little country and it’s quirks! also please remember kj is raised in a part samoan family and that’s a very important aspect of his life. i may add to this list if i think of more things !! 

Keep reading

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).