Eight-year-old Kahu, a member of the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, fights to prove her love, her leadership, and her destiny. Her people claim descent from Kahutia Te Rangi, the legendary ‘whale rider.’ In every generation since Kahutia, a male heir has inherited the title of chief. But now there is no male heir, and the aging chief is desperate to find a successorEight-year-old Kahu, a member of the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, fights to prove her love, her leadership, and her destiny. Her people claim descent from Kahutia Te Rangi, the legendary ‘whale rider.’ In every generation since Kahutia, a male heir has inherited the title of chief. But now there is no male heir, and the aging chief is desperate to find a successor. Kahu is his only great-grandchild — and Maori tradition has no use for a girl. But when hundreds of whales beach themselves and threaten the future of the Maori tribe, Kahu will do anything to save them – even the impossible....more
Paperback, 150 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Harcourt (first published January 1st 1987)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 33 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »
See all 1 video »
See full cast »
On the east coast of New Zealand, the Whangara people believe their presence there dates back a thousand years or more to a single ancestor, Paikea, who escaped death when his canoe capsized by riding to shore on the back of a whale. From then on, Whangara chiefs, always the first-born, always male, have been considered Paikea's direct descendants. Pai, an 11-year-old girl in a patriarchal New Zealand tribe, believes she is destined to be the new chief. But her grandfather Koro is bound by tradition to pick a male leader. Pai loves Koro more than anyone in the world, but she must fight him and a thousand years of tradition to fulfill her destiny. Written by berkeley
Plot Keywords:maori|f rated|girl|tradition|new zealand| See All (98) »
Taglines:In the ways of the Ancients, she found a hope for the future See more »
Genres:Drama | Family
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)Rated PG-13 for brief language and a momentary drug reference| See all certifications »
Parents Guide:View content advisory »
Official Sites:Official site|Official site [Germany]|See more »
Release Date:29 August 2003 (USA) See more »
Also Known As:A Domadora de Baleias See more »
Filming Locations:Henderson Valley Studios, Hickory Avenue, Henderson, Auckland, New ZealandSee more »
Budget:NZD 6,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend USA:$137,418, 8 June 2003, Limited Release
Cumulative Worldwide Gross:$20,662,447 See more on IMDbPro »
Production Co:South Pacific Pictures, ApolloMedia Distribution, Pandora FilmproduktionSee more »
Show more on IMDbPro »
Sound Mix:Dolby Digital
Aspect Ratio:2.35 : 1 See full technical specs »
Did You Know?
TriviaKoro teaches the boys a form of the Maori "haka" traditional dance. Various hakas are performed for many different occasions, by all genders and age groups. The most widely known haka is "Ka Mate," performed by New Zealand's All Blacks national rugby team before international matches as a challenge to their opponents. See more »
GoofsWhen the grandfather attempts to fix the small outboard motor, the rope he is using snaps leaving portions of the rope still attached to the motor. A moment later, the rope fragments are completely gone. See more »
Paikea: In the old days, the land felt a great emptiness. It was waiting. Waiting to be filled up. Waiting for someone to love it. Waiting for a leader.
[child birth scene]
Paikea: And he came on the back of a whale. A man to lead a new people. Our ancestor, Paikea. But now we were waiting for the firstborn of the new generation, for the descendant of the whale rider. For the boy who would be chief.
Paikea: There was no gladness when I was born. My twin brother died, and took our mother with him.
See more »
Crazy CreditsDedicated to those who have gone before See more »
ConnectionsFeatured in Te Waka: Building the Canoe (2003) See more »
Music Composed By, Arranged By Lisa Gerrard
Copyright owned by 4AD LTD Under License from South Pacific Pictures LTD.
© (P) 2003 4AD LTD
See more »
Frequently Asked QuestionsThis FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Getting Started|Contributor Zone »