Awaiaulu was approached by UHWO’s Chancellor, Dr. Maenette Benham to take on the translation and dubbing of Disney’s animated film Moana, and we accepted the challenge. While English-to-Hawaiian translation is not the focus of Awaiaulu’s training, our participants gain familiarity with the more-classical forms of the language that seemed to align well with the goals of the project. A team of five Awaiaulu translators, headed by Puakea, included Kamuela Yim, Kalei Roberts, Hina Kneubuhl, and Kalikoaloha Martin. Translation of text, both spoken and sung, had to then be distilled to syllable count and recast to match the motion of lips. The project, being both a challenge and an exciting adventure, absorbed the tem for three months as they rushed to get a polished script into the hands of the directors and cast. Puakea then participated throughout the studio recording process in order to negotiate any changes that might be desirable as the process unfolded. Thanks to the support of the directing team and all of the cast, the product, Moana in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, became available as an educational resource in 2018. This clip gives a snippet of the film and background on the making of it:

It is hoped that the Hawaiian version of Moana will be more available to the broader public in the near future.