Labour Party MP Jenny Salesa is concerned the overweight portrayal of Polynesian demi-god Maui in new Disney movie Moana could give New Zealand children the wrong idea.

Moana is an animated film from Disney. Photo: Walt Disney Pictures
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Worried the stereotype will cast a negative view of Polynesian body types, the Manukau East MP said "this negative stereotype of Maui is just not acceptable".

"When we look at photos of Polynesian men and women from the last 100-200 years, most of our people were not overweight and this negative stereotype of Maui is just not acceptable - no thanks to Disney," Salesa posted on Facebook.

She also shared a Facebook post from former Samoa international rugby player Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu to help convey her message.

"Maui looking like after he fished up the Islands, he deep fried em and ate em [sic]," Fuimaono-Sapolu's post read.

Salesa told One News that the Disney movie would be of "huge importance to our young people".

"What is really quite wrong with the imagery of Maui in this instance, if we look back in history... Polynesian people were not overweight or obese," she said.

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Maui is voiced by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson in Moana. Photo: Getty Images

Many social media users have been quick to support Salesa's views on the large portrayal of Maui.

"That thing is look like a hippo, look nothing like Maui [sic]," Rebecca Eseta Humphrey commented.

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"I agree and am surprised that they still didn't change the image even though voiced by Dwayne Johnson, who I hope raised issues about it," Sange Malama Tuisaula added.

One user had an opposing interpretation of Maui's body shape: "It's fiction, and it's a kids movie. Let the kids including myself just enjoy the movie and be grateful for a movie being based around the beautiful pacific islands?"

Kiwi filmmaker Taika Waititi is one of the lead writers for Moana, and New Zealand music group Te Vaka is helping create the soundtrack.

The film is due to be released in the US on November 23.

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