The language of Avatar's Na'vi alien race is partially based on Maori, director James Cameron says.
Cameron and language expert Paul Frommer, of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, moulded the language, mixing Maori with European and African languages, The Press reported.
"The way that the language was created, it started off innocently enough as I was writing the script," Cameron said.
"I came up with some place names and some character names and so on. You know, I was just sort of free associating, and I had been to New Zealand a few years ago and really liked the sound of the Maori language and some of the Polynesian form, so I put that in."
Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology Maori faculty dean Hana O'Regan said the use of Maori was "impressive".
"I am not too possessive over the language being used for something like that, which is something that some people might get disturbed about," she said.
Avatar this week won two Golden Globes for best director and best film drama.