Show MoreNiki Caro’s acclaimed film, Whale Rider, is an aspiring story of a young Maori girl’s pursuit to prove herself to her grandfather and to undertake her destiny as the tribal leader. Her grandfather, Chief of Whangara has old-fashioned attitudes that blind him to his granddaughter’s potential as his successor. It is only when tragedy strikes that Pai can prove to her grandfather that her community’s link with the spiritual world of the Maori lives on. The emphasis on Maori culture and myth allow us to classify Whale Rider as a film that shows the protagonist, Pai, being unable "go home" and to understand it through a connection between myth, culture, and family.
Myth comes from the Greek word mythos, meaning story or word, which…show more content…
Ever since then, each of the first-born males amongst Paikea's descendants have in turn become tribal leader. In the present day, the Maori community has lost its way again. They have less or no distinctive pride and heritage. The death of the next male descendant of Paikea, and the departure of his father Parourangi for Europe, leaves Koro hopeless over the survival of the old ways. As Bernary Beck states, “The power that is respected by the Maori people is a fierce, masculine, warrior power” (Beck). As the myth indicates, the new successor has to be a male. Thus, it creates an obstacle for Pai who cannot assume her destiny to be the true descendant.
It has been in the Maori tradition that the chiefs are always males, however; there are no good candidates in the community. Although Pai believes she could become the next successor, tradition dictates that the in every generation the chief’s eldest son is the one to take over his role also knows as primogeniture. This makes Pai’s father the next in line; however, the death of his wife and son during childbirth causes him to leave his village and to also refuse the position of being chief. As a result, Koro makes the young men of the community attend his chief school in hopes of find a leader, overlooking the obvious successor.
Despite her devotion, Pai is not given her chance to become an heir because the Maori tradition has always
Show MoreTHE WHALE RIDER
The film's plot follows the story of Paikea Apirana ("Pai")[In the book, her name is Kahu, short for Kahutia Te Rangi], a 12-year-old girl who is the only living child in the line of the tribe's chiefly succession following the death of her twin brother and mother when she was born. By tradition, the leader should be the first-born son a direct patrilineal descendant of Paikea, aka Kahutia Te Rangi in the book, the Whale Rider he who rode on top of a whale from Hawaiki. However, Pai is female and technically cannot inherit the leadership.
Pai's koro, Apirana, or Old Paka as his wife Nanny Flowers calls him, the leader of the tribe, is initially angry at losing his grandson and being left with a "worthless" female. While he…show more content…
Koro's relationship with Pai erodes further when none of the boys succeed at the traditional task of recovering the rei puta (whale tooth) that he threw into the ocean this mission would prove one of them worthy of becoming leader.
Pai, in an attempt to bridge the rift that has formed, invites Koro to be her guest of honour at a concert of Mori chants that her school is putting on. Unknown to all, she had won an inter-school speech contest with a touching dedication to Koro and the traditions of the village. However, Koro was late, and as he was walking to the school, he notices that numerous right whales are beached near Pai's home. The entire village attempts to coax and drag them back into the water, but all efforts prove unsuccessful; even a tractor doesn't help because the rope breaks. Koro sees it as a sign of his failure and despairs further. He admonishes Pai against touching the largest whale because "she has done enough damage" with her presumption. Also, the largest whale traditionally belongs to the legendary Paikea. But when Koro walks away, she climbs onto the back of the largest whale and coaxes it to re-enter the ocean. The whale leads the entire pod back into the sea; Paikea nearly drowns in the process. When she goes out to sea, Nanny Flowers shows Koro the whale tooth which Pai had previously recovered. When Pai is found and brought to the hospital, Koro declares her the leader and asks her forgiveness. The film ends with the village,