Cast and release date announced for the Māori language version of Walt Disney Animation Studios Academy Award-winning animated feature, Frozen.
The Walt Disney Company’s Walt Disney Animation Studios, together with Matewa Media, today announced the cast and new release date for Frozen Reo Māori.
Frozen Reo Māori premieres in Tāmaki Makaurau October 25th, and will screen in participating cinemas in Aotearoa and Australia from October 27th.
After the success of Lion King Reo Māori, Frozen Reo Māori celebrates four more dialects including Te Reo o Ngāi Tahu, Te Reo o Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Reo o Rangitāne and Te Reo o Te Tai Rāwhiti. Producer and Director Tweedie Waititi, Producer Chelsea Winstanley, Reo Māori Expert Pānia Papa, Performance Advisor Rachel House and Music Director Rob Ruha have come together again to recreate the magic of Frozen with actors from across Aotearoa and Australia.
Jaedyn Randell (Moana Reo Māori) returns as the voice of the free-spirited puhi ariki Princess Anna, with Awhimai Fraser (Ahikāroa, Shortland Street) joining the cast to play the beloved ‘Let It Go’ powerhouse, Queen Elsa. Renowned opera singer Kawiti Waetford is Kristoff, while James Tito (Whina, Mahana) is Prince Hans from the Southern Isles.
Multi-award-winning musician, Pere Wihongi joins the cast as the summer-loving snowman, Olaf while entertainer and musician, Rutene Spooner plays the role of eccentric Duke of Weselton.
Te Atakorihi Tutengaehe (Pūkana) and Tuakoi Ohia (Ahikāroa) will be the voice of young Anna and pre-teen Anna respectively. Te Anewa Waititi-Rata plays young and pre-teen Elsa. Reporter and former league star, Wairangi Koopu joins the cast as King Agnarr of Arendelle.
Award-winning singer and actor Bella Kalolo-Suraj (Dawn Raids, Sione’s Wedding) will play Kristoff’s adoptive mother troll Bulda; and acclaimed actor Te Kohe Tuhaka (The Dead Lands) will play wise leader of the trolls, Grand Pabbie.
A stellar ensemble group including māori musicians Cilla Ruha, Kirsten Te Rito, Kaaterama Pou, Awatea Wihongi, Ricky Mitai and Raniera Blake also join the cast of Frozen Reo Māori to take on the large musical numbers.
Supporting Music Director Rob Ruha, Pere Wihongi returns as co-music director in collaboration with Hana Mereraiha to compose and reimagine the film's illustrious soundtrack.
Matewa Media is grateful to the team of eight reo Māori translators representing each of the four dialects who led the groundwork of the film's dialogue, while Pānia Papa and Tweedie Waititi shaped each syllable and nuance to deliver Frozen Reo Māori.
Academy-award nominated Producer Chelsea Winstanley said: “Frozen Reo Māori is an opportunity to support the mita of Ngāi Tahu who have been building on their unique language strategy Kotahi Mano Kāika, Kotahi Mano Wawata. The Koroneihana (coronation) within the film also allows other mita to be heard and that has always been a rautaki (strategy) for Matewa Media - to showcase as many dialects as we can to highlight how beautiful and diverse the Māori language is.”
The Walt Disney Company’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, Kylie Watson-Wheeler, said: “We’re thrilled Frozen Reo Māori is making its debut in cinemas, bringing the magic of Anna and Elsa to life in the Māori language.
“Frozen Reo Māori adds to our emerging collection of Māori language titles, including Moana Reo Māori now on Disney+, and The Lion King Reo Māori which launched in cinemas this year and is coming soon to Disney+. We’re proud to be building on our close collaboration with Matewa Media and the many incredible local voice talents, filmmakers and translators who lend their talents to authentically translate these iconic Disney films.
“These translations broaden the accessibility, inclusiveness and diversity of The Walt Disney Company’s storytelling for a new generation by celebrating and extending the Māori culture and language in our communities.”
Frozen Reo Māori is the third film reversioned into Te Reo Māori to be developed and produced by Matewa Media in association with Walt Disney Animations Studios.