A polynesian pronounciation lesson in Texan twang

By Peata Melbourne

Time and time again, the Māori language suffers through mispronunciation, misuse, and misappropriation. With the red carpet release of Disney's latest movie Moana due next week in Los Angeles, Polynesians worldwide are anticipating the public embarrassment of mispronounced words. Two Texan Tongans have taken a pro-active approach to the issue through social media.

Joshua Kasitati wants to set the record straight about the correct pronunciation of Disney's latest movie titled Moana, all done in his full-blown Texan twang.

“We just needed to clarify some things to the world,” says Mr. Kasitati.

In less than an hour, this clip was shared 36 times and went viral.

“We've made video's before, we're goofballs we do that so I thought maybe give a week or two, maybe a month, but I didn't think in two days.”

He and his sister Jillian are both Tongan, born and bred in Texas. Both took issue with the mispronunciation of the word Moana by friends.

“I'm telling him the story and as we're walking through Walmart we pass by the doll and he turns around and he's like pull the camera out, pull the camera out, let's go, and put me live. Just off the top of his head that's what he came up with and I'm just in the background dying,” says Ms. Kasitati.

Samoan actor Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson as Māui, and Māori actors Rachel House and Temuera Morrison who gave a statement today saying.

"It's a Disney movie with The Rock for kids, fun. It’s Disney Samoan flavoured."

Mr. Kasitati says, “We love that The Rock did the voice even though he can't pronounce all the words right but he's representing for all the Polynesians and the islands. We're just helping to get the message out there we're really excited to go and see the movie, it’s gonna be a great movie.”

Despite their views on the mispronunciation, they're still keen to see the movie.

Full version of video below.