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Moana (2016)

Found in: social studies; preK-2; 3-5; 6-8; 9-12

To restore the health of her island’s ecosystem, Moana sails from her island against her father’s wishes to return the heart of the goddess who created all life. But first she must find the trickster Maui who stole the heart and then lost it along with his magic fishhook. Disney blends elements of myth and culture from different parts of Polynesia, though much is Maori.


The official Disney Moana Website provides an Educator’s Guide and an Activity Packet. The Educator’s Guide ( PDF, 12.8 MB, 40 pgs.) (2-6) with background information, 4 lessons aligned to standards, and glossary. The lessons examine the hero’s journey, music and rhythm of the ocean, Wayfinding, and caring for sea turtles. The Activity Packet  ( PDF, 9.8 MB, 18 pgs.) has six activities as well as information on storytelling/mythology, waves, Wayfinding, and sea turtles.

Island Soundscape: Music of Hawaii, the Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea  Students (3-5) explore island cultures of the South Pacific and their songs, crafts, and games.

Paradise Found: Singing and Drumming of Western Samoa  Students (3-5) explore the sounds of Western Samoa.

Classroom Curriculum and Activities  Filter by grade level, subject, and theme. (K-12)

And don’t miss the K-12 lessons and resources included in NEA’s Teaching Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage.

Background Resources:


Maui (Mythology Dictionary) A brief description of Maui’s feats with links to related entries.

Pacific Islander Religions of Oceanic Mythology; Easter Island; Hawaii, including Legends of Maui;  Samoa; Tahiti; and Melanesia.


Hawaiian Voyaging Traditions Resources related to the revival of voyaging and non-instrument navigation.

The Polynesian Voyaging Society provides Polynesian Navigation  with Wayfinding, Star compass, and resources. The Library houses articles, books, photos, graphics, maps, songs and chants, and videos.

Never Lost: Polynesian Navigation  An interactive overview of Polynesian navigation.

Wayfinders: The Game


600-Year-Old Polynesian Ocean-Sailing Canoe Discovered In New Zealand In 2012, a 6-meter section of an ancient canoe was discovered on the remote northwestern end of New Zealand’s South Island. This brief report includes an expandable image of the canoe section and an illustration of a reconstruction.

Oceania  has 19 galleries of artifacts from Australia, Micronesia, Melanesia, Oceania, and three from Polynesia A.D. 1600-1800, A.D. 1800-1900, A.D. 1900-Present. Essays are included.

Songs and Chants of the Canoes


Consider The Coconut: How Moana Uses Polynesian Culture To Create A Prototypical Disney Story Examines the interaction between culture and commerce that is a facet of Polynesian life.


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