Traditional voyagers to deliver ‘Moana’ to the rest of Samoa


The 22-meter voyaging canoe “Gaualofa” (Photo: Mark Meredith)

APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 19 DECEMBER 2016: Conservation International (CI) and Walt Disney Animation Studios, along with the Samoa Voyaging Society (SVS), announced a first-of-its-kind collaboration to bring conservation education and awareness to coastal island communities in and around Samoa through a grant from the Disney Conservation Fund.

With technical support from CI and the Samoan government, SVS Captain, Fani Bruun and her crew will sail to these communities on their traditional double-hulled voyaging canoe, the “Gaualofa” and present free workshops on basic coastal and marine management principles as well as host free screenings of Disney’s “Moana”.

The announcement took place last week at the Moana screening event in Apia, Samoa, attended by the lead actress Auli’i Cravalho, directors Ron Clements and John Musker, and producer Osnat Shurer. Among the dignitaries and guests in attendance was the patron of the Samoa Voyaging Society, the Head of State, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi.

“Conservation International is at the forefront of innovative environmental educational efforts,” said Shurer, “and for the film Moana to be a part of this community outreach program is an honour. Moana means ocean in most Pacific Island languages, and the ocean is a character in our film, so this is a perfect fit! We are humbled to have Moana presented to local communities by the great wayfinders of the Samoa Voyaging Society.”

Schannelle van Djiken of Conservation International and President of the SVS said “Samoa is known as the heart of Polynesia and home of the navigators. Both Conservation International and the Samoan Voyaging Society are extremely pleased to have Disney’s support in helping inspire this tradition among the youth so they know the importance and significance of their powerful cultural history and realize the important links between our culture and the wise stewardship of nature.”

Disney Moana Producers, Directors and Actors with Conservation International team in Samoa last week. (Photo: CI Samoa)

Disney Moana Producers, Directors and Actors with Conservation International team in Samoa last week. (Photo: CI Samoa)

Conservation International
Conservation International (CI) uses an innovative blend of science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. CI have worked in Samoa since the 1990’s on various land and ocean based conservation efforts. More information about CI’s work in Samoa here. Learn more about CI and the “Nature Is Speaking” campaign, and follow CI’s work on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Samoa Voyaging Society
The Samoa Voyaging Society is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to reviving Samoan cultural traditions related to ocean sailing and the wise stewardship of the Pacific. We are the custodians of the traditionally-inspired 22-meter voyaging canoe “Gaualofa”.

For centuries, the greatest sailors in the world masterfully navigated the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, 3,000 years ago, their voyages stopped for a millennium – and no one knows exactly why. From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who is inspired to leave the safety and security of her island on a daring journey to save her people. Inexplicably drawn to the ocean, Moana (voice of Auliʻi Cravalho) convinces the mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson) to join her mission, and he reluctantly helps her become a wayfinder like her ancestors who sailed before her. Together, they voyage across the open ocean on an action-packed adventure, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills her quest and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity. Directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Princess & the Frog”), produced by Osnat Shurer (“Lifted,” “One Man Band”), and features music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa’i.