Moana, as a fictional character, does not belong to a specific race in the real world. However, her character design and cultural background in the film “Moana” draw inspiration from Polynesian cultures. 

Polynesians are a group of closely related ethnicities indigenous to the Pacific Islands, including Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, Fiji, and New Zealand’s Māori culture. 

Moana’s physical appearance and cultural context align with that of Polynesian peoples, but it is important to note that she is a fictional character created for the purposes of storytelling and entertainment.

What Race Is Moana?

Moana, the title character from the Disney animated film “Moana,” is of Polynesian descent. Her heritage is inspired by the cultures and people of the Pacific Islands, particularly those of Polynesia.

Moana’s Ethnic Background and Cultural Roots

Moana, the fictional character from the Disney animated film “Moana,” is portrayed as a Polynesian princess. 

Her ethnic background and cultural roots are deeply connected to the Polynesian peoples and their rich heritage.

The film is set in the ancient Pacific Islands, drawing inspiration from various Polynesian cultures, particularly those of the people of Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, Fiji, and New Zealand’s Māori culture. 


The story revolves around Moana’s journey to save her people and restore the heart of Te Fiti, an island deity.

In terms of Moana’s specific ethnic background, it is not explicitly mentioned in the film. However, Polynesians are a group of closely related ethnicities, and Moana’s physical appearance and cultural context align with that of Polynesian peoples.

Polynesian cultures share many commonalities, such as a strong connection to the ocean, navigation skills, vibrant music and dance traditions, intricate tattoo art, and an emphasis on communal values and respect for nature. 

These aspects are beautifully portrayed in the film, showcasing the cultural roots and practices that shape Moana’s character and her people.

Overall, Moana’s ethnic background and cultural roots can be understood as Polynesian, representing the diverse and rich traditions found within the Polynesian peoples of the Pacific Islands.

What type of princess is Moana?

Moana is often referred to as a “Disney princess” due to her status as a lead female character in a Disney animated film. 

Moana’s character deviates from some traditional princess tropes and represents a unique type of princess within the Disney canon.

Moana is often described as a “princess of the sea” or a “Wayfinder princess.” She is the daughter of the chief of Motunui Island and possesses a strong connection to the ocean, inherited from her ancestors who were skilled voyagers. 

Unlike some previous Disney princesses who long for a romantic relationship or seek to find their place within a royal hierarchy, Moana’s story focuses on her personal growth, self-discovery, and her responsibility as a leader. 

Moana Movie

She is a courageous, resourceful, and independent young woman who embarks on a challenging voyage to fulfill her destiny and reconnect her people with their voyaging heritage.

Moana’s character represents empowerment, self-belief, and resilience. She serves as a role model for young audiences by embodying qualities such as bravery, perseverance, and a strong sense of identity. 

Her story emphasizes the importance of self-discovery, following one’s passion, and embracing one’s cultural heritage.

Why does Moana have powers?

Moana is not depicted as having supernatural powers herself. Instead, she possesses a deep connection and affinity with the ocean, which is portrayed as a sentient and guiding force throughout the story. 

The ocean is shown to respond to Moana’s presence, assisting and supporting her on her journey.

While Moana does not have inherent magical abilities, her connection with the ocean is portrayed as a special gift or calling. 

It is a testament to her strong spirit, determination, and her role as a chosen one to embark on a mission to restore the heart of Te Fiti and save her people.

Moana’s connection with the ocean is portrayed as a manifestation of her bravery, compassion, and her deep understanding and respect for her cultural heritage. 

It serves as a metaphor for her inner strength and resilience as she faces the challenges of her journey.

The design and visual references of Moana’s character

Moana’s character design and visual references in the film “Moana” were influenced by the Polynesian cultures that inspired her story. 

The animators and artists at Disney worked to create a character that would authentically represent the Polynesian heritage and capture the spirit of the Pacific Islands.

Moana is depicted as a young woman with tan skin, dark wavy hair, and brown eyes. Her facial features reflect Polynesian characteristics, with a strong and determined expression. 

Her physique is athletic and fit, reflecting the active lifestyle of Polynesian seafarers and navigators. The film’s art direction and animation drawn from Polynesian visual motifs and traditional designs. 

Disney Movie Moana

The vibrant color palette used throughout the film, including the lush blues of the ocean and the lush greens of the islands, evokes the natural beauty of the Pacific Islands. 

The costume design for Moana incorporates elements of Polynesian clothing styles, such as the grass skirt and woven fabrics, while also incorporating unique details that suit her adventurous journey.

The film incorporates Polynesian tattoo art, known as tā moko or tatau, as a significant aspect of Moana’s design. 

Her character has intricate tattoos on her arms and wrists, symbolizing her connection to her people, their history, and the ocean. 

These tattoos are inspired by Polynesian tattoo traditions, which hold deep cultural and spiritual significance in various island cultures.

The design and visual references of Moana’s character aim to respectfully and authentically represent the Polynesian cultures that inspired her story, capturing the essence of the Pacific Islands and their rich heritage.

Why does Moana look like Tafiti?

Moana’s physical resemblance to Te Fiti, the island deity, is intentional for narrative purposes. It symbolizes their connection and highlights Moana’s potential to embody Te Fiti’s qualities. 

This resemblance reinforces the transformative journey Moana undertakes and emphasizes her ability to bring about change and renewal.

Tefiti Moana

What language does Moana speak?

In the film “Moana,” the characters primarily speak English. However, the film incorporates some elements of the Polynesian languages, particularly the phrases, and songs. 

The film includes words and phrases from the Tokelauan, Samoan, and Tuvalu languages, among others, to add authenticity to the storytelling and reflect the cultural context. 

These Polynesian language elements help create a more immersive experience and showcase the cultural diversity and richness of the Pacific Islands.

What is the evil creature in Moana?

The evil creature in “Moana” is known as Te Kā. Te Kā is a lava monster and the transformed version of the island goddess Te Fiti. 

When Maui, a demigod, steals Te Fiti’s heart, it unleashes a dark and destructive force that turns Te Fiti into Te Kā. 

Te Kā becomes the primary antagonist of the film, hindering Moana’s mission to restore the heart and save her people. 

It is later revealed that Te Kā is not inherently evil but rather a wounded and lost entity. Through Moana’s compassion and understanding, Te Kā is ultimately healed and transformed back into Te Fiti, restoring balance and harmony to the islands.

Teka Evil

What is the dark origin of Moana?

According to the film’s mythology, a demigod named Maui stole Te Fiti’s heart, which contained the power to create life. 

This act unleashed darkness and caused Te Fiti to become consumed by anger and transform into Te Kā. The spreading darkness led to the decay and destruction of the islands.

The central theme of the movie revolves around Moana’s journey to restore the heart of Te Fiti and bring light and life back to her people. 

While the story incorporates elements of darkness and adversity, Moana’s role is to overcome these challenges and restore balance rather than being associated with a dark origin herself.

Also Read:

Categorized in: