Matai Vasa is a minor character in Disney's 2016 animated feature film Moana. He is the ancestral leader of Moana's tribe, having led her ancestors to Motunui.

Role in the film

Matai appears during the song "We Know the Way" in a flashback depicting his travels with his people. Throughout the song, he is seen guiding the boats as they voyage to Motunui. Once his people colonize Motunui, Matai gives his necklace to his son and passes the title of chief onto him.

Matai is later seen during "I Am Moana (Song of the Ancestors)" as a spirit. As the boats make their way past Moana, Matai nods to her in respect.


  • In Lithuanian, Matai means "measurements".
  • Matai's name was revealed in Moana: The Essential Guide. In the game Disney Crossy Road, he is named "Ghost Matai".
  • Matai is also the Samoan title means "Chief" at the Fa'amatai system.
  • As the first chief, it is possible that he started the tradition of placing stones on top of the mountain of Motunui.
  • Matai had a slightly larger role in previous drafts of the movie, as he was mentioned by name a few times. At one point, Gramma Tala had Moana memorize her ancestors, beginning with Matai, all the way down to her grandfather: Tala's husband.


Concept Art


v - e - d
Moana Logo 2
Film: MoanaVideoGone Fishing

Soundtrack: Soundtrack
Video games: Moana: Island LifeMoana: Rhythm RunDisney Emoji BlitzDisney Heroes: Battle ModeDisney Magic KingdomsDisney Sorcerer's Arena
Books: The Art of MoanaDisney Princess Beginnings

Disney Parks
Art of Disney AnimationCastle of Magical DreamsIt's a Small WorldJourney of Water, Inspired by Moana

Entertainment: "A Whole New World" A Magical Disney SongbookMoana: A Homecoming CelebrationRivers of Light: We Are One
Parade: Magic Happens
Firework: HarmoniUSHappily Ever AfterWonderful World of Animation
Spring: Disney Pirate or Princess: Make Your Choice
Summer: Summer Blast

MoanaMauiGramma TalaChief TuiSinaHeiheiPuaMini MauiTamatoaKakamoraTe Fiti/Te KāOceanMatai Vasa

Deleted characters: Moana's Brothers

MotunuiMaui's IslandLalotaiTamatoa's LairTe Fiti
Tulou TagaloaAn Innocent WarriorWhere You AreHow Far I'll GoWe Know the WayYou're WelcomeShinyLogo Te PateI Am Moana (Song of the Ancestors)Know Who You AreUnstoppable (outtake)More (outtake)Warrior Face (outtake)
Maui's Fish HookHeart of Te FitiMoana's NecklaceMoana's Boat
See Also
As Told by Emoji
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