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The Lion King Reo Māori: Sharyn and Jayden chat with Pere Wihongi about her role in the new film

The skilled musician shares her experience adapting a Disney Classic into Te Reo Māori.

We had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with the incredible Pere Wihongi to chat about her role as Co-Musical Director in the upcoming Lion King Reo Māori film.

EDG - Pere Wihongi FULL IV
EDG - Pere Wihongi FULL IV
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The 90's animated classic is the second Disney film to be remade in Te Reo Māori after the 2016 hit film Moana Te Reo was released in cinemas back in 2020. 

We spoke with the incredibly talented musician and composer about the incorporation of different Iwi and the use of five different Mita (dialects) throughout the film.

The film is the first ever to have Sir Elton John's Grammy Award-winning song 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight' translated into another language and performed by another artist, which was none other than the great Stan Walker. 

Of all the 43 different languages that have translated the Lion King, Te Reo is the first and only film to have translated right through until the credits

the award-winning composer explained.

She also revealed that they had to go directly to Elton John to sign off the translated version of the song. 

She spoke about seeing the original Lion King film as a child - it was the first film that made her cry, therefore working on the Māori adaption of the film was a full-circle moment. 

Wihongi worked alongside Rob Ruha as co-musical director along with Matewa Media producers Chelsea Winstanley and Tweedie Waititi to remake the film.

The composer also revealed that they are currently working on a Te Reo version of the hit Disney film Frozen.

We're over the moon to see more Te Reo films being produced and excited that our Tamariki gets to embrace and learn Māori language through iconic Disney films.

Wihongi teased that like the Moana Te Reo film, The Lion King Reo Māori will be soon coming to the streaming platform, Disney+.

The film was released in cinemas over Matariki weekend and is available to see now.