‘Moana’ is a story about the masculine and feminine energies and the way they hurt each other in the never ending dance of power struggle. It is also the ultimate heroine’s journey.
The initial story of Te Fiti is the story of our relation to our Mother Earth. She gives us everything we need, just like the island of Motunui to her inhabitants, but we humans always want more and destroy everything on the way while trying to get it. So a demigod called Maui, representing masculine energy, steals Te Fiti’s heart to have the power of creation for himself. He is a shapeshifter and a trickster and he gets to her heart by deception. He is however stopped by Te Ka, a demon of earth and fire made of lava. In her righteous anger Te Ka struck him down but the heart of Te Fiti is lost in the ocean. The legend predicts that one day somebody will find the heart and force Maui to restore it…
We are then introduced to a little girl named Moana who is rewarded by the ocean for her good heart and helping a small turtle to get to the ocean. She grows up thinking that it was just a dream though. She is supposed to become a chief of her people but she keeps on hearing a voice calling her to go further than anybody she knows has ever gone. And as her grandmother tells her: when you hear a voice calling you, you have to listen. That’s how she starts her heroine’s journey, by first going into the cave, then dying in the storm, almost giving up and finally succeeding. On her path she also learns how to sail and becomes a wavefinder. ‘It’s seeing where you’re going in your mind. Knowing where you are, by knowing where you’ve been’ – as Maui explains to her.
Maui has a traumatic past but of course, being a man, he doesn’t want to talk about it. ‘I want to help but I can’t if you don’t let me’ – Moana says to him and he finally opens up. She helps him to start believing in himself again. He keeps repeating: ‘Without my hook I am nothing’ but she proves to him that it’s not true. They start cooperating, working together and helping each other. It doesn’t always work, and Maui says some hurtful words to Moana, but in the end they restore the balance between the two energies, the ying and the yang. But it’s not Maui who saves the day, it’s Moana. Because after the dark ages of patriarchy, it’s now time for women to lead the way.
Te Fiti, after her heart is stolen, changes into Te Ka. But Moana reminds her who she truly is – pure love. And Maui is at first afraid of the feminine energy symbolized by her heart because he doesn’t understand how it works. But after he apologizes to her, she forgives and rewards him.