Mari Barney

Written by Mari Barney

Modified & Updated: 01 Jun 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Tamatoa, the flamboyant and larger-than-life character from the Disney movie “Moana,” has captured the hearts of audiences around the world. This giant, villainous crab brings a unique and unforgettable energy to the screen, leaving viewers in awe of his sparkling shell and cunning demeanor. As one of the most iconic characters in the film, Tamatoa boasts a fascinating backstory and a number of intriguing qualities that make him stand out among other cartoon characters. In this article, we will dive into the underwater world of “Moana” and explore 12 fascinating facts about Tamatoa that will shed light on his history, personality, and role in the story. So, get ready to journey with us into the depths of the sea and discover the secrets surrounding this iridescent crustacean!

Key Takeaways:

  • Tamatoa, the giant coconut crab from “Moana,” is a flamboyant and shiny-loving character voiced by Jemaine Clement. His catchy song “Shiny” and larger-than-life personality make him a fan favorite.
  • Tamatoa challenges traditional Disney villain stereotypes with his comedic flair and extravagant personality. His role adds a unique twist to the antagonistic characters often found in Disney films, making him a memorable and entertaining addition to “Moana.”
Table of Contents

Tamatoa is a memorable character from the Disney film “Moana”.

Tamatoa is a giant coconut crab who resides in Lalotai, the realm of monsters. He is known for his flamboyant personality, obsession with shiny objects, and the catchy song he sings in the movie.

Tamatoa is voiced by actor Jemaine Clement.

Jemaine Clement, known for his work in the comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, lends his voice to bring Tamatoa to life. His portrayal of the character adds a unique blend of humor and charm to the film.

He is inspired by real-life coconut crabs.

Coconut crabs, also known as robber crabs, are the largest land-dwelling arthropods. They have a reputation for being scavengers and are known to have a preference for shiny objects, which is a trait mirrored in Tamatoa’s character.

Tamatoa is covered in dazzling treasures.

One of Tamatoa’s most striking features is his shiny shell adorned with an array of treasures, including jewels, gold, and various trinkets. This collection of treasures makes him an instant eye-catcher.

His name means “the big and vicious one” in Maori.

Tamatoa’s name derives from the Maori language, which is spoken by the indigenous people of New Zealand. The name perfectly encapsulates his larger-than-life personality and his reputation as a fearsome creature.

He has a larger role in the movie’s extended universe.

While Tamatoa plays a memorable part in the film “Moana,” his character also appears in spin-off stories and merchandise related to the movie. This demonstrates his popularity among fans.

There are intricately detailed tattoos on Tamatoa’s claws.

If you look closely, you’ll notice the intricate designs etched into Tamatoa’s claws. These tattoos add another layer of visual interest to his character and reflect the rich Polynesian art style portrayed throughout the movie.

Tamatoa’s song, “Shiny,” is a fan favorite.

The catchy tune “Shiny” performed by Tamatoa quickly became one of the film’s standout songs. Its lyrics and melody perfectly capture Tamatoa’s egotistical nature and his love for all things shiny.

He has a penchant for theatrics.

Tamatoa loves to put on a show, reveling in attention and using dramatic gestures and expressions to captivate his audience. His theatrical nature adds an entertaining dynamic to his character’s portrayal.

Tamatoa’s size is intimidating.

As one of the film’s larger characters, Tamatoa’s enormous size makes him an imposing figure. This adds to his overall presence and reinforces his formidable reputation among other characters.

He provides a contrast to the film’s protagonist, Moana.

Tamatoa’s flamboyant and self-centered personality stands in stark contrast to the determined and selfless character of Moana. This contrast helps highlight Moana’s growth and resilience throughout the film.

Tamatoa’s role challenges traditional Disney villain stereotypes.

In “Moana,” Tamatoa breaks away from the typical Disney villain archetype. With his comedic flair and extravagant personality, he adds a unique twist to the antagonistic characters often found in Disney films.


In conclusion, Tamatoa, the villainous giant crab from the movie “Moana,” is a fascinating and memorable character that has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide. With his shiny treasure-covered shell, catchy song, and sly personality, Tamatoa has become a favorite among fans of the film. But there is much more to this colorful character than meets the eye.From his origin story to his hidden abilities, Tamatoa’s lore and charm make him an intriguing addition to the cast of “Moana.” Whether you’re a fan of his quirky personality or simply appreciate his catchy tune, Tamatoa is a character that adds depth and entertainment to the movie.So next time you rewatch “Moana,” keep your eye out for Tamatoa and his incredible shenanigans. Remember these 12 fascinating facts about Tamatoa and enjoy his villainous presence on the big screen.


1. Who voices Tamatoa in the movie “Moana”?

Tamatoa is voiced by actor Jemaine Clement, best known for his work in the comedy duo Flight of the Conchords.

2. What is the inspiration behind Tamatoa’s character?

Tamatoa’s design and characteristics are loosely inspired by the coconut crab, a real-life creature known for its large size and shiny exoskeleton.

3. What is Tamatoa’s role in the movie “Moana”?

Tamatoa serves as one of the main antagonists in “Moana,” acting as a roadblock for the protagonist, Moana, on her journey.

4. Does Tamatoa have any special abilities?

Yes, Tamatoa possesses the ability to regenerate lost limbs, making him an even more formidable opponent.

5. What is Tamatoa’s signature song in the movie?

Tamatoa’s catchy song is called “Shiny,” where he boasts about his love for all things shiny and valuable.

6. What is Tamatoa’s relationship with Maui, another character in “Moana”?

Tamatoa and Maui share a contentious relationship, with Tamatoa holding a grudge against Maui for stealing his hook.

7. What does Tamatoa want with Moana?

Tamatoa believes that Moana’s magical necklace, known as the Heart of Te Fiti, could make him even more powerful and valuable.

8. Does Tamatoa have any redeeming qualities?

While Tamatoa is primarily portrayed as a villain, he does display moments of vulnerability and insecurity, adding layers to his character.

9. What is Tamatoa’s role in Polynesian mythology?

Tamatoa is not a figure from traditional Polynesian mythology; he was created specifically for the movie “Moana.”

10. Will Tamatoa return in any future “Moana” sequels?

As of now, there are no official plans for a “Moana” sequel, so it remains uncertain if Tamatoa will make a comeback in any future films.

11. Can Tamatoa be considered a comedic character?

Yes, Tamatoa’s wit, sarcastic remarks, and humorous demeanor make him one of the comedic highlights of the movie.

12. What life lesson can we learn from Tamatoa’s character?

Tamatoa’s obsession with material wealth and power serves as a reminder that true value lies in one’s character and not in external possessions.

Tamatoa's memorable role as a villain in "Moana" showcases Disney's creativity in crafting unique characters. His connection to Polynesian culture through the coconut crab inspiration adds depth to this dazzling crustacean.

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