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If you’ve seen the hit Disney movie Moana, you may be wondering: how old is the shapeshifting demigod Maui? His larger-than-life personality and ability to transform into animals makes it hard to pin down his exact age.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Maui is an ancient immortal deity whose age cannot be precisely determined.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll examine Maui’s origins in Polynesian mythology, his magical powers, his intricate backstory shown in the film Moana, and the ways his immortality makes it impossible to know his precise age.

By the end, you’ll have a much deeper understanding of this beloved character.

Maui’s Origins as an Immortal Trickster God in Polynesian Mythology

Maui, the charismatic demigod from Disney’s Moana, has a rich and fascinating backstory deeply rooted in Polynesian mythology. In Polynesian cultures, Maui is revered as a legendary hero, known for his cleverness, trickery, and shapeshifting abilities.

Let’s delve into the origins of this mischievous character and explore the captivating aspects of his mythological persona.

Maui as a Pan-Polynesian Legendary Hero

Maui as a Pan-Polynesian Legendary Hero

Maui’s legend spans across various Polynesian cultures, such as those found in Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Samoa.

These cultures share similar stories, highlighting Maui’s heroic exploits and his role in shaping the world. In some legends, Maui is considered the son of the sky god, while in others, he is thought to be the offspring of humans.

One of the most well-known tales involving Maui is his quest to slow down the sun’s movement to extend the length of daylight. Maui achieved this by using his magical fishhook to ensnare the sun’s rays, allowing people more time to work and play.

This story showcases Maui’s ingenuity and his desire to improve the lives of humanity.

Maui’s Association with Cleverness and Trickery

Maui is often depicted as a mischievous trickster, using his quick wits and cunning to outsmart both gods and humans. His cleverness is evident in stories like the time he transformed into a bird to steal fire from the fire goddess, or when he turned into a worm to enter the womb of the goddess of night and slow her down, bringing longer days to the world.

Despite his penchant for mischief, Maui is generally portrayed as a well-intentioned character, using his trickery to benefit humanity. His actions highlight the importance of wit and resourcefulness in overcoming challenges, making him a beloved figure in Polynesian folklore.

Maui’s Shapeshifting and Immortality

One of Maui’s most remarkable abilities is his shapeshifting prowess. He can transform into various animals, such as birds, insects, and even a gigantic whale. This power allows him to navigate the world and accomplish extraordinary feats.

In addition to his shapeshifting abilities, Maui is also known for his immortality. However, it is essential to note that the concept of immortality in Polynesian mythology differs from the Western idea of never-ending life.

In Polynesian culture, immortality refers to the ability to cheat death or to live an extraordinarily long life.

Maui’s immortality is often tied to his magical fishhook, which grants him the power to accomplish incredible feats. This connection between Maui, his fishhook, and his immortality is a fascinating aspect of his mythological character.

Exploring Maui’s origins as an immortal trickster god in Polynesian mythology provides a deeper understanding of his role in the Moana narrative.

As viewers enjoy the adventures of this charismatic demigod on the big screen, they can appreciate the rich cultural heritage that inspired his creation.

Maui’s Backstory as Shown in the Film Moana

In the animated film Moana, we are introduced to the character Maui, a demigod with a fascinating backstory. Through the course of the movie, we learn about Maui’s origins, his heroic exploits, and the challenges he faces along the way.

Let’s delve into Maui’s captivating backstory and explore the key events that shape his character.

Maui is Born a Demigod with Magical Powers

According to the film, Maui is born to human parents and is gifted with incredible powers. He possesses the ability to shapeshift into various forms, control the elements, and even has a magical fishhook that allows him to perform extraordinary feats.

Maui’s powers make him a formidable force and a revered figure in Polynesian mythology.

In Polynesian culture, demigods like Maui are often seen as intermediaries between humans and the gods. They are believed to possess both human and divine qualities, making them powerful beings who can influence the world around them.

Maui’s birthright as a demigod sets the stage for his grand adventures and his role in shaping the destiny of humankind.

Maui’s Heroic Exploits to Help Humankind

Throughout his existence, Maui embarks on numerous heroic exploits to assist and protect humanity. In the film, we see him using his powers and wit to bring prosperity to the people, such as creating islands, lifting the sky, and even stealing the heart of Te Fiti, a powerful goddess of life and creation.

These acts of heroism showcase Maui’s selflessness and his commitment to helping others. He becomes a legendary figure, celebrated in Polynesian folklore for his bravery and resourcefulness.

Maui’s actions not only demonstrate his incredible abilities but also highlight his deep connection to the well-being of humankind.

Maui Loses his Fishhook and is Stranded on an Island

Maui Loses his Fishhook and is Stranded on an Island

Despite his extraordinary powers, Maui is not invincible. In one of his adventures, he loses his magical fishhook, which is his primary source of power. This loss leaves him vulnerable and stranded on an island for a thousand years.

During this time, Maui experiences a period of isolation and introspection. He grapples with feelings of regret and seeks redemption for his past mistakes.

This part of Maui’s backstory adds depth to his character, showing that even a powerful demigod can face challenges and moments of vulnerability.

It is through his encounter with the film’s protagonist, Moana, that Maui finds a chance at redemption and an opportunity to reclaim his lost fishhook. Together, they embark on a journey that not only tests their abilities but also allows them to grow and discover the true meaning of heroism and identity.

Maui’s backstory in the film Moana is filled with adventure, mythology, and personal growth. It showcases the complexities of his character and the transformative journey he undergoes.

Through his heroic exploits, Maui becomes a symbol of hope and inspiration, reminding us of the power of determination and the ability to overcome obstacles.

The Case for Maui Being Ancient and Ageless

Maui, the charismatic demigod from the movie Moana, has captivated audiences with his larger-than-life personality and impressive powers. But just how old is Maui? Many clues point to the fact that he is not just centuries old, but possibly ancient and ageless.

Maui Existed ‘A Thousand Years’ Before Moana’s Time

According to the song “You’re Welcome” sung by Maui himself, he claims to have accomplished amazing feats and shaped the world “a thousand years” before the events of the movie.

This suggests that Maui has been around for an incredibly long time, predating even the earliest records of human civilizations.

While the exact timeline of Moana’s world is not explicitly stated, it is clear that Maui’s existence spans generations. This makes him a timeless figure, deeply rooted in the myths and legends of the Polynesian culture.

Maui Does Not Seem to Age or Die

One of the most intriguing aspects of Maui’s character is his apparent immortality. Despite his long existence, he does not seem to age or show any signs of physical decline. This is evident in his youthful appearance and boundless energy throughout the movie.

Furthermore, Maui possesses incredible shape-shifting abilities and superhuman strength, which further supports the idea that he is not bound by the limitations of mortal beings.

These powers make him a formidable force and contribute to his reputation as a legendary figure in Polynesian mythology.

It’s Impossible to Precisely Date an Immortal Deity

When dealing with immortal beings like Maui, attempting to pinpoint an exact age becomes a futile exercise. As divine entities, they exist outside the boundaries of time and aging that affect ordinary mortals.

While there is no concrete evidence to determine Maui’s exact age, it is clear that he has been a part of the Polynesian folklore for centuries. His stories have been passed down through generations, and his influence can be seen in various cultural traditions across the Pacific Islands.

Ultimately, Maui’s agelessness adds to his allure as a mythical character. He embodies the timeless spirit of adventure and heroism, inspiring audiences of all ages with his larger-than-life persona.

For more information on Polynesian mythology and the fascinating world of Maui, you can visit, which provides a comprehensive exploration of the legends and stories surrounding this legendary demigod.


In the end, pinning down Maui’s exact age proves elusive. As an immortal shapeshifting trickster god, his lifespan transcends human limitations. His backstory stretches back over a thousand years before Moana’s time, filled with fantastical exploits.

While we may never know a precise number, the rich mythology and magic surrounding Maui makes him a timeless figure whose story continues to enchant audiences around the world.

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