This week, I had the opportunity to watch Moana, another masterpiece by Disney Studios, depicting an adventure of Moana, a girl constrained both to stay in her island, as well as her inner-calling to be a voyager. It’s a beautiful story I’d strongly advise you to go see. As you know with my blog, I discuss spoilers. You’ve been warned.
Moana the voyager…of life
The story’s premise revolves around way finders and voyagers first colonising the islands circa 1000 BC. Moana’s island, faced with a dilemma comprising the lack of fish, and plantation becoming inedible. Moana suggests leaving the reef, to seek new fishing spots (unbeknownst to her, this being what her elders did), gets immediately rejected from past memories experienced by her father from going past the reef. Regardless of this, Disney sets this up as the wall our heroine has to first overcome. So what’s the message Disney is sending out? Well, the message is clear.
Leave the Reef.
But is this the right thing to do? Sure, Moana made it back. But wasn’t that dangerous? Isn’t it better to be safely grounded in our islands? Sure. If you’re in Moana’s position and you haven’t been properly taught how to steer a boat. But seeing as not all of us know how to row boats, or be led by stars, what can we take from this?
LEAVING THE REEF
“If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I’ll know
How far I’ll go”
Therein lies a truth. Until you try you won’t know. There was blatant disobedience to her father’s counsel. That is something which I would not condone. However, we as the audience receive confirmation of her actions based on visions and elder advice.
“Mind what he says but remember
You may hear a voice inside
And if the voice starts to whisper
To follow the farthest star
Moana that voice inside is who you are”
There is a level of profoundness found within these lines. Prior to Christianity, Polynesian religion wasn’t organised, but rather revolved around the belief of godly elements. The goddess or god of water, fire, land, and demi-gods (Maui for example).
From whatever religious or atheist or lifestyle perspective we look at it, what Grandma is trying to say is clear. Listen to your conscience. In this story, the water chose Moana. Are we all chosen? Perhaps not in the same context, but you do have qualities, which when developed, will take you to many unknown reefs.
Explore your talents, leave your reef. Moana isn’t a story about dreams coming true. It’s about knowing who we are, remembering our ancestors and accepting ourselves, and developing the talents we were born with.
The words of the song “I Am Moana” further emphasise this point:
I know a girl from an island
She stands apart from the crowd
She loves the sea and her people
She makes her whole family proud
Sometimes the world seems against you
The journey may leave a scar
But scars can heal and reveal just
Where you are
The people you love will change you
The things you have learned will guide you
And nothing on earth can silence
The quiet voice still inside you
And when that voice starts to whisper
Moana you’ve come so far
Do you know who you are?
Who am I?
I am a girl who loves my island
I’m the girl who loves the sea
It calls meI am the daughter of the village chief
We are descended from voyagers
Who found their way across the world
They call me
I’ve delivered us to where we are
I have journeyed farther
I am everything I’ve learned and more
Still it calls me
And the call isn’t out there at all
It’s inside me
It’s like the tide
Always falling and rising
I will carry you here in my heart
You’ll remind me
That come what may
I know the way
I am Moana!
In the coming month, and as the New Year approaches, discover who you are. Take time to develop your talents. Take time to pay attention to you. Listen to the small voice that calls out to you.REFERENCES
Patrick Vinton Kirch, On the Road of the Winds: An Archaeological History of the Pacific Islands before European Contact, p232
Fig. 1 – Concept Art for Moana
Figures 2 and 3 – Screenshots from Moana