For the first time ever, the story of Moana and Maui's adventures will be performed as part of a Disney on Ice performance. And to make it even more special for New Zealand, it will be performed in Te Reo Māori.
"Well, it's very special," Disney on Ice ambassador Stacey Morrison said on TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning. She said the segment had been included by the Disney Corporation "so from Australia, they can see, 'OK, this is a really beautiful story that people love'."
The opportunity came about because Moana had already been translated into te reo Māori previously.
"They just said, 'We can see this is important to New Zealand,' so it really does say something exciting about where te reo is at," she said.
She called the iconic Disney on Ice show "magical" and "such a fantasy", and "to see a young woman from Hamilton being able to [perform as Moana in Māori] just brought another life to it."
Ms Morrison said the Te Reo Māori performance was significant in that it puts "Te Reo Māori in the context of this iconic show that has everything from Toy Story to Frozen to Moana and then Moana Te Reo Māori.
"[It] adds this level and I think you're right about what it says about how comfortable we are with Te Reo Māori."
She added that kids are "so good at taking it in" and adapting to change.
"They can follow a story, they’re caught up in the magic of it, and then to have te reo layered on top of that is – I think it's the parents that feel really emotional about it, whereas kids are like, 'Yeah, of course.'"
Disney On Ice will appear in Auckland's Spark Arena from August 2-4; Hamilton's Claudelands Arena from August 8-11; and Christchurch's Horncastle Arena on August 17.
Moana's Te Reo segments will be on show on select dates.