top of page

Featured film

Sina ma Tinirau


Intended to be a collaboration between faculty and students, the University of Hawai'i gave Vilsoni Hereniko a small grant to make the film through the University of Hawai'i at Manoa Collaboration in Film and Animation Strategic Investment Grant. In order to complete the film,  the European Research Council Starting Grant No. 803302, Indigeneities in the 21st Century, gave Hereniko another small grant. Hereniko is most grateful for the support of both these funding sources, without whom Sina ma Tinirau would not have been made. He is particularly grateful to Phillip Schorch (co-producer) who supported the making of this film when it was just an idea without any funding.


The UHManoa faculty involved were Laura Margulies (animation producer), George Wang (editor), Brittany Biggs (Consultant), Vilsoni Hereniko (Producer, Writer, Director, and Narrator).


Animators from UHManoa ( some of whom are now alumni) were as follows: Gavin Arucan (animation director), Alexis Nelson (sound designer and sound editor), and Sophia Whalen, Molly Tapken, Mirren Hollison, Danae Naone, Jewel Racasa, Angela Isidro, Alex Narimasu, and Samuel St. John.


Others who helped to make this film can be found in the film's end credits.

According to the first Rotuman Grammar and Dictionary by C. Maxwell Churchward (1940), Sina refers to a "very beautiful woman, especially in Rotuman legends and songs" (page 311), and Tinirau to "very handsome young men. Much used in poetry and legends as proper name of the prince or hero" (page 330).


In some other parts of Polynesia, both of these mythological figures, like Maui, feature in oral tales, songs, chants, and poetry. The tale of Sina and Tinirau has parallels or similiarities with other versions in Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Cook Islands, and Aotearoa/New Zealand. Sina sometimes appears as Hina or Sinilau while Tinirau sometimes appears as Tinilau or Tigilau.


As with oral tales anywhere, there is no original version in existence as it is impossible to know when the very first telling of this tale occured. A printed or published version of this tale does not mean that the story was unchanged before printing or that the printed version is the original version. 

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
bottom of page