In the movie Moana, Moana is the daughter of the chief, and she's spent her whole life being trained for leadership.

The thing is, her grandmother (her fathers mother) is still alive and well, and an active, respected member of the tribe. I can't work out why the grandmother isn't chief, the father is.

Here's some known facts:

  • Moana's tribe has no problem being lead by a woman (Moana is marked for leadership, and there's no resistance to this)
  • It seems they wouldn't choose a male child to be chief (Moana will be chief, there's no "unless you have a younger brother").
  • The chief is the child of a chief, the leadership runs in families.
  • The grandmother we meet is her fathers mother, so she's in the same blood line.

Why isn't Moana's grandmother the chief?

  • 2
    Is the chief not allowed to retire? – JAB Apr 14 '17 at 19:40
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    @JAB The film doesn't make that clear, although hereditary leaders, in most cultures, are often in the job for life. – AJFaraday Apr 14 '17 at 19:42
  • @AJFaraday: Unless they choose to stop for personal (or medical) reasons. This is the case for the current monarchs of Belgium, the Netherlands, and the last pope (though popes are not from the same bloodline, they are usually assigned for life). – Flater May 30 '17 at 15:25
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    she is the medicine woman of the tribe. the story teller. the healer. aka village crazy lady – Ronee Luttringer May 31 '17 at 3:04

Obviously gramma tala married into the chieftainship. Chief Tui's dad, Tala's husband, was the chief and passed away leading Tui to take over. Moana as only child will take over from Tui. Tala was as Sina, Moana's mum, is now.


She was looked at as kind of an outsider/free spirit. The chief often criticized Moana for her independence and her not thinking about what's best for the tribe. An example would be her going out into the water/areas that she wasn't supposed to. Presumably the grandmother, who encouraged Moana to be more like she was, would not have made an ideal chief.

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