What does Mafatu's name mean?
On page 6, the author states that "Mafatu" means "stout heart" in Polynesian. Mafatu's father gave him this name expecting him, as the son of the Great Chief of Hikueru, to make him proud with his shows of bravery and courage. Instead, Mafatu proves such a disappointment to him that he comes to view his son as a coward.
Mafatu is afraid of the most essential aspect of tribal life on Hikueru: the sea. He can't fish and he can't go out on boats. Much to Matatu's distress, he is restricted to staying at home with his uncaring stepmother.
One day Mafatu decides he's had enough and must face what he calls "Moana, the sea God." Sneaking out of his house with a canoe, he sets forth to overcome his fears and finally live up to his name.
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