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The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera
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The Whale Rider (1987)

by Witi Ihimaera

Other authors: Serena Kearns (Cover designer)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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983348,734 (3.84)1 / 111
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English (33)  French (1)  All (34)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
(5/10) "Man might carve his mark on the earth but unless he's vigilant, Nature will take it all back"

A slightly surreal story about a young Maori girl, some whales and the battle between the modern and ancient traditions of her culture all in just over 150 pages. I feel like I should have enjoyed this more than I did, it was written well and there were quite a few quotes I picked out as I read that I thought were beautiful, it just didn't grab me.

I'll start with the positive, I really enjoyed reading about the culture and mythology in this book, I know nothing about Maori culture so that was nice. That being said I think the inclusion of so much of the language might by why I struggled a bit, my European brain couldn't wrap itself around the pronunciation and I did spend a lot of time rereading sections with no idea if I was correct or murdering the language horribly. In the end I just skipped those parts.

I liked the narrator Rawiri, he was a nice bridge between the elders and Kahu herself, always understanding of both sides. I did find it a bit strange that a significant section was given over to his travels abroad, it felt a bit like that should have been in a separate book and could have been cut without affecting the story at all.

Overall I think that this is perhaps too short a story for me to grasp the context properly and this did affect my enjoyment. It wouldn't put me off reading more by Witi Ihimaera but I won't be rushing back. ( )
  LiteraryReadaholic | Mar 8, 2017 |
The Whale Rider is a dream-tale set in modern New Zealand among a tribe that traces their lineage back to the legendary Whale Rider -- the original human to settle New Zealand. The aging chief has no male heir and refuses to see the spiritual aptitude of his granddaughter. In alternate chapters, the original, ancient whale is lonely and forgotten and brings his tribe back to where he last saw the Whale Rider to beach himself. Fabulous melding of Maori legend and modern storytelling. ( )
1 vote Mrs_McGreevy | Nov 17, 2016 |
Important, intense, just as much for YA and adults as for children, but hard, at least for me, to get into, difficult to fully appreciate. ?ŠThe movie could well be better. ?√ɬ°Readers who are spiritually inclined will probably like it better. ?√ɬ°In a lot of ways it reminded me of Mr. God this is Anna, with the communion of reality & unreality, the immediate & intimate presence of the gods, and, of course, the young man who absolutely loves the precocious & preternaturally wise little girl. ?√ɬ°If you like this, read that. ( )
1 vote Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
This is an absolutely stunningly beautiful story of a young girl in a Maori community trying to find her place. It features the old conflict of ancient custom vs. modern life and the struggle of a girl trying to earn her place in a patriarchal society.

The story is told by the girl's uncle, Rawiri, a young man who is as involved with a motorcycle gang as he is with his traditional Maori tribe. He tells the story of how young Kahu comes to live with her great grandparents, Koro Apirana and Nanny Flowers when two years old. Even then she demonstrated her devotion to Koro who was totally dismissive of her simply because she was not a boy who could carry the traditions on through to future generations. Her strength and uniqueness become apparent when an old bull whale beaches himself on the beach and she is the only one who is able to persuade him to return to the sea.

This was a short book and one that hooks you and doesn't let go until you are finished. ( )
1 vote mamzel | May 24, 2016 |
Jay Laga'aia is a great narrator, and this is a beautiful tale. I saw the movie years and years ago, so had a rough idea of the plot, which of course wasn't the same anyway. Highly recommended as a story for girl-readers who should be reading about strong female characters who are getting out and kicking ass despite those who don't believe in them. ( )
1 vote evilmoose | Dec 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Witi Ihimaeraprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kearns, SerenaCover designersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Potter, BruceIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Kia hora te marino
Kia whakapa pounamu te moana
Kia tere te karohirohi
I mua i tou huarahi


May the calm be widespread
May the ocean glisten as greenstone
May the shimmer of light
Ever dance across your pathway
Dedication
For Jessica Kiri and Olivia Ata, the best girls in the whole wide world

He tohu aroha ki a Whangara me nga uri o Paikea.

Thanks also to Julia Keelan, Caroline Haapu and Hekia Parata for their advice and assistance
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In the old days, in the years that have gone before us, the land and sea felt a great emptiness, a yearning.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0152050167, Paperback)

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 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, it is Kahu who saves the tribe when she reveals that she has the whale rider's ancient gift of communicating with whales.
Now available in simultaneous hardcover and paperback editions.
Feature film in theaters in June 2003!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:31 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

As her beloved grandfather, chief of the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, struggles to lead in difficult times and to find a male successor, young Kahu is developing a mysterious relationship with whales, particularly the ancient bull whale whose legendary rider was their ancestor.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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