Rugby resident’s work on Disney’s latest blockbuster

John Musker, one of the directors, Paul Geraghty from Rugby,  Ron Clements, another director and the producer Osnat Shurer.
John Musker, one of the directors, Paul Geraghty from Rugby, Ron Clements, another director and the producer Osnat Shurer.

It’s been revealed a man from Rugby worked on Disney’s latest release - Moana.

Paul Geraghty, who attended Rugby School, was one of the advisory members for the new feature film which is set on a Polynesian island.

The animated film tells the story of Moana, who is the daughter of the chief of a Polynesian tribe, who is chosen to reunite a relic with a goddess.

Mr Geraghty was chosen to advise on the film because of his experience in Pacific languages and cultures.

After finishing education at Rugby School he took a gap year, where he spent a year as a volunteer teacher in Fiji. His trip sparked an interest in Fijian and other Pacific languages and cultures.

Mr Geraghty was accepted at the University of Hawaii for his MA and PhD studies but travelled back to Fiji to work for the government’s Institute of Fijian language and culture, which he became Director of for 15 years. In 2001 Mr Garaghty switched to the University of the South Pacific, where he became associate Professor in Linguistics.

In 2012 Disney contacted Mr Garaghty. He said: “Disney contacted me to be cultural adviser for their animation feature Moana, having heard of me through colleagues at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji. They explained that they were determined to get cultural and linguistic details correct, and that the story was set in the western Pacific two thousand years ago.

“I agreed, and have since responded to questions by hosting visits to Fiji with the producer and directors and took them to visit Fijian friends of mine, who still retain the art of traditional sailing and navigation. Along with other members of the advisory group, I have checked the authenticity of matters such as clothing, housing, ornament, and in particular sailing and navigation. Being one of the handful of people in the world who know how Polynesians spoke two thousand years ago, I came up with the names of some of the characters and all
of the place-names.

“I am very pleased with the success of the film and proud to have been involved in it.”