Polynesians react after Disney pulls heavily-criticised Moana costume

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Disney came under fire for a new outfit depicting legendary figure Maui - and now some Polynesians critical of the costume have welcomed the company's move to stop selling it.

Maui is played by Dwayne Johnson - otherwise known as The Rock - in the upcoming animated movie Moana. The brown outfit has long-sleeves and pants and full-body tattoos.

Critics say it is off-putting to have a child wear the skin colour of another race, likening the costume to a form of blackface.

Brigham Young University-Hawaii professor Tevita Kaili said he's happy Disney is responding.

Moana is an adventurous teenager on an ocean voyage
Moana is an adventurous teenager on an ocean voyage (Disney)

Chelsie Haunani Fairchild said the company only pulled the costume because critical voices were heard.

The Native Hawaiian college student studying in Texas said it doesn't change what Disney did, though she accepts the company's apology.

Disney apologised in a statement on Wednesday and said it regrets offending some with the outfit, confirming that it would pull the costume from its website and stores.

It said the team behind the Moana movie has taken great care to respect the cultures of the Pacific that inspired the film.