Indigenous | Disney+

Frozen Te Reo Māori cast revealed

The latest instalment of popular animated Disney films translated into te reo Māori will be released in October, with the ensemble cast revealed today.

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 once again come together again to recreate the magic of Frozen with actors from across Aotearoa and Australia.

Jaedyn Randell (Waikato), who provided the voice of Moana in the first Disney film to be given a Māori voice, returns as the voice of the free-spirited puhi ariki Princess Anna, with Ahikāroa and Shortland Street actress Awhimai Fraser (Waikato, Tāmanuhiri, Ngāti Pūkenga) joining the cast to play the beloved 'Let It Go' powerhouse, Queen Elsa.

Renowned opera singer Kawiti Waetford (Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Rangi) is Kristoff, while singer and actor James Tito (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Raukawa) is Prince Hans from the Southern Isles.

Multi-award-winning musician, Pere Wihongi (Te Tai Tokerau) joins the cast as the summer-loving snowman, Olaf while entertainer and musician, Rutene Spooner (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāruahine, Te Aitanga a Mahaki) plays the role of eccentric Duke of Weselton.

Te Atakorihi Tutengaehe (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāi Te Rangi) and Tuakoi Ohia (Waikato) will be the voice of young Anna and pre-teen Anna respectively.

Te Anewa Waititi-Rata (Te Whānau a Apanui) plays young and pre-teen Elsa. Reporter and former league star, Wairangi Koopu (Waikato, Te Whānau a Apanui) joins the cast as King Agnarr of Arendelle.

Award-winning singer and actor Bella Kalolo-Suraj (Ngāti Porou) will play Kristoff’s adoptive mother troll Bulda; and acclaimed actor Te Kohe Tuhaka (Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou) 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.

A team of eight reo Māori translators representing each of the four dialects led the groundwork of the film's dialogue, while Pānia Papa and Tweedie Waititi shaped each syllable and nuance to deliver Frozen Reo Māori.

Winstanley says the film is an opportunity to support the mita of Ngāi Tahu who have built its own 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, says, “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 re-versioned into Te Reo Māori to be developed and produced by Matewa Media in association with Walt Disney Animations Studios.

Frozen Reo Māori will be available in participating cinemas in Aotearoa and Australia from October 27th. Tickets are on sale now.