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Tui Moana

Chief Tui is a supporting character in the 2016 Disney animated feature film Moana. He is the father of Moana and the Chief of Motunui.

Background

Tui is the chief of the people on the island of Motunui, having succeeded his father. In the days of his youth, despite the laws that forbade voyaging, Tui was drawn to the sea and dreamt of sailing in the vein of his ancestors. One night, Tui and his best friend took a canoe out into the ocean, and successfully crossed Motunui's barrier reef. Upon doing so, however, the two were struck by rough seas that destroyed their vessel. Although Tui survived, his best friend was lost to the sea, having drowned. Consumed by his heartache and guilt, Tui became aquaphobic, and sought to protect his people by strictly upholding the law that forbade anyone from going beyond the sanctity of the island's barrier reef.

Personality

Tui is a well-respected and caring leader. He values his family, island, and people, showing great pride in the life they've built for themselves. He genuinely believes Motunui to be paradise, and has become perfectly content in remaining on its shores. As chief, he has made it his mission to ensure that his family and people feel the same, for their own happiness.

Though he loves his family, Tui's stubbornness often clashes with that of Moana, due to the latter's love for the sea. Tui sees himself in his daughter, both positively and negatively; since her birth, he has pressured Moana to uphold their family legacy by succeeding him as chief, a position he believes she would handle exceptionally. However, Moana also shares her father's youthful love for the ocean. Having lingering guilt for his friend's death, Tui sees Moana's desire to reinvigorate voyaging as selfish, accusing her of pursuing a dream at the cost of endangering their people. His staunch adherence to his belief that the island will provide despite the concrete evidence that their home is dying shows that Tui is too afraid to admit his belief is becoming invalid and actually endangers his people. Once Moana proves her worth by sailing across the ocean and saving the village, Tui was able to come to terms with her love for the sea, and his own.

Trivia

  • An abandoned concept in earlier drafts of the movie, involved Tui sending Heihei the rooster to tag along Moana's journey as a watchdog. In these versions, Heihei was Tui's sidekick of sorts, and accompanied the chief often. The rooster also took after Tui, as he was no-nonsense and aggressive with Moana's rule-breaking tendencies.[2]
  • Tui's necklace is made of whale teeth, which only royalty were allowed to wear, further establishing his role as chief.[3]
  • In the demo version of "Shiny", Tui was the relative that Tamatoa mocked. In the movie, Tamatoa mocks Tala.
  • Originally, Tui had multiple sons, the brothers of Moana. He had pride in each of them and their sailing talents, but was less pleased whenever Moana tried to join them at sea.
  • In deleted scenes, Tui knew the truth of Maui and Te Fiti, and openly prevented his people from sailing specifically to keep them away from the dangerous land spirit Te Po (named "Te Kā" in the final film). Additionally, Tui's father went sailing and never returned, presumably claimed by the sea, and this only heightened his fears, as he didn't want to lose another family member to the ocean.


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