Māori cast unveiled for Māori version of Disney-Pixar’s “Coco”

Cast announced for the Māori language version of Disney and Pixar’s Oscar®-winning animated feature Coco

Matewa Media and Pixar Animation Studios are thrilled to reveal the cast for the Te Reo Māori version of the Oscar-winning Pixar film, Coco Reo Māori, a groundbreaking project that brings the magic of music and family to Aotearoa. Debuting on July 13th in select cinemas across the country, Coco Reo Māori showcases the rich talents of Māori actors and musicians.

Making his debut, Mānuera Mānihera lends his voice to the aspiring musician Miguel, while acclaimed Māori musician and actor Troy Kingi embodies the charismatic trickster Héctor. Justin Rogers, known for The Lion King Reo Māori, reprises his role as the legendary musician Ernesto De La Cruz, and Naomi Herewini-Houia joins as the family matriarch Mamá Imelda.

Kuini Moehau Reedy, a composer and advocate for Kohanga reo, portrays Miguel’s grandmother Abuelita, and the esteemed Rachel House, renowned for her roles in Soul, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and Moana, voices Miguel’s cherished great-grandmother Mamá Coco. Roimata Fox embodies Mexican icon Frida Kahlo, and Rutene Spooner returns, lending his voice to various characters including Miguel’s late great-grandfather, Papá Julio.

Completing the Rivera family are Te Rongopai Channings as Miguel’s supportive father, Papá, Cilla Ruha as his caring Mamá, Ngātarawāhi Fairhall as his late twin uncles Tío Oscar and Tío Felipe, and Arihia Cassidy, reprising her role from The Lion King Reo Māori, as Miguel’s late aunt Tía Rosita.

Edd Rivera, hailing from the Mariachi tradition, and multilingual artist Hana Mereraiha, ensure the Spanish language is honored throughout the film. Translations are skillfully executed by Tā Selwyn Parata and Ngarimu Parata, a father-son duo and respected figures in Tai Rāwhiti.

Produced locally by Matewa Media, Tweedie Waititi, Chelsea Winstanley, and Mia Henry-Teirney lead the production team, with Rob Ruha and Pere Wihongi serving as Music Directors. Coco Reo Māori is a testament to the power of Te Reo o Te Tai Rāwhiti, utilizing its unique dialect to infuse the story with a distinct Māori essence.

Director Tweedie Waititi shared, “Coco Reo Māori embraces our Ngāti ‘saysay’ (idioms) and celebrates the matriarchal and Te Ao Wairua elements evident in our cultures.”

Producers Chelsea Winstanley and Mia Henry-Teirney expressed their excitement, stating, “Working on Coco Reo Māori has been incredibly special. It’s been beautiful to discover how our cultures are similar in the way we honour and value our loved ones.”

Coco Reo Māori, a collaboration between Matewa Media and Pixar Animation Studios, marks the first time a Pixar film has been reversioned into Te Reo Māori, continuing the legacy established with previous Disney films like Moana, The Lion King, and Frozen. This reimagined version brings forth the vibrant spirit of Māori culture and storytelling to audiences across Aotearoa.

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