In fiction, a MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin or maguffin) is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist pursues, often with little or no narrative explanation.
In Lord of the Rings, the MacGuffin is a small circular object Which Must Be Destroyed.
In Star Wars, it is a large circular object which must be destroyed.
In other tales, it is an object which must be found, circular or not… (Holy Grail type thing).
In Moana, the MacGuffins are actually woven tightly into the plot; one must be found to restore a hero’s power, one must be returned to restore balance to the world.
Then there’s this moment, where Maui mistakes Moana for a fan looking for an autograph.
“When you use a bird to write with, it’s called tweeting…” is one of the funniest anachronisms in the whole thing.
We pause to remind you that this is a culture which transferred all of its wisdom and information by oral tradition. In one Maui legend, his hook is made from the jawbone of his grandmother; wisdom and learning come from the Elders, through the jawbone in the form of speech.
I digress. This is a place with a rich set of wisdom and knowledge, all kept in people’s heads… there is no written language.
So when Maui signs, as any star would, “love, Maui”, he uses pictographs…
…which are seen on the hoe’uli (steering oar) for the rest of the film.
aaaaaaaaaaaaaand the MacZGuffins are?
Heart of Ta Fiti.
Maui knows his MacGuffins.