The Whale Rider

“My name is Paikea Apirana, and I come from a long line of chiefs stretching all the way back to Hawaiiki, where our ancient ones are, the ones that first heard the land crying and sent a man.  His name was also Paikea, and I am his most recent descendant.  But I was not the leader my grandfather was expecting, and by being born I broke the line back to the ancient ones.”

A New Zealand Māori village is on the verge of extinction.  The line of sons born to chiefs has been broken, and Paikea’s grandfather refuses to consider her as a possible leader.  But he hasn’t anticipated how determined Paikea is to learn on her own.

Based on the book by Witi Ihimaera and shot in breathtaking New Zealand, Whale Rider earned Keisha Castle-Hughes an Oscar nomination at the age of 13.  See the trailer here:


About Allie Jane Bruce

Children's Librarian, Bank Street College. Librarian, We Need Diverse Books. Co-creator of Reading While White ( Newbery Committee 2016. Addicted to children's literature and chocolate.
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