Read The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera Online


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, 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!...

Title : The Whale Rider
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780790009315
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 156 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Whale Rider Reviews

  • Brina
    2019-02-17 06:12

    I have been fascinated by whales from the time I was a young child and saw a blue whale skeleton at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History. This one event precipitated a lifelong love of whales and dolphins and all marine mammal life. I have been fortunate to go on two whale watches in my life but I have never gotten up close to these majestic creatures. With the year winding down and finding myself in need of an author whose last name starts with the letter I to finish an A-Z author challenge, I recently came across the novella Whale Rider by Maori writer Witi Ihimaera. Gaining international acclaim from the movie based on this book, Ihimaera takes his readers on a mythical journey through contemporary Maori culture.The Maori people originally came from the sea. The ancestor of the current people named Kahutia Te Rangi was able to converse with whales and the two species maintained a symbiotic relationship that balanced all creatures of the earth. Legend has it that an ancient whale named Paikea launched spears from the sea that landed all over the world, and these were responsible for the creation of the birds, animals, and ancient Maori people. The current Maori lead by Koro Apirana and his grandson Porourangi still hold by these ancient traditions and believe that in the current climate with whalers killing the kings of the ocean for sport, the balance holding the future of the earth together is doomed. They seek a leader for the next generation of their people, a male heir who is the reincarnation of the original whale rider Kahutia Te Rangi, who is able to converse with the gentle giants of the sea and restore balance to the earth.There may be a leader right before their eyes although Koro Apirana holds strongly to his traditions and does not realize that the future may hinge on his great granddaughter, Porourangi's daughter Kahu, named for the tribe's ancestor Kahutia Te Rangi who could speak to whales. While Koro believes that only a male heir can save his people, his wife Nanny Flowers attempts to foster a loving relationship between Kahu and her Paka (grandfather). A strong willed woman who is descended from a female dominated tribe, Nanny Flowers believes that women can do anything that a man can and more so if given the chance. Both Nanny Flowers and Rawiri, Porourangi's brother, witness how special Kahu may be from an early age, yet their attempts to get Koro Apirana to acknowledge this are fruitless. As a result, the chieftain conducts a tribal wide search to wide a boy who will lead future generations of Maori people.Ihimaera notes that he wrote this book for his two daughters who one day asked him why only boys play the role of heroes in movies whereas girls are cast as the role of damsel in distress. Kahu notes that her people are suffering and is determined to become well versed in her culture, cultivating a one-sided loving relationship with Koro Apirana, and winning countless awards at her cultural school. More importantly, she can talk to whales and dolphins, if only her Paka Koro would see this. Kahu's role in saving the Maori comes to a head with the appearance of an ancient whale who is said to be Paikea, and only a true whale rider is able to save both races. While these scenes were moving and emotional in printed form, I am sure that they were mesmerizing on big screen, as the whale rider goes out to sea to converse and swim with the majestic creatures of the deep. Ihimaera has created a wonderful gift for girls all over the world in creating a girl heroine who is proactive and not crying out for boy heroes to save her. With his determination to leave this gift for his daughters, Ihimaera has created a gem in Kahu and in Nanny Flowers who encourages her every on every step of her journey.The writing of Witi Ihimaera reminds me of Louise Erdrich on the other side of the world. He has written countless novels, novellas, and short story collections about the Maori culture and is considered the Maori writer best known today. Part of his exposure is from the acclaim of the film version of Whale Rider, which lead many to read this gem of a book. Even though I was lead to the writing of Ihimaera in order to complete a challenge, I have a feeling that I will be reading more of his work. His writing is soothing as he talks about the special balance that native people maintain with the earth and sea, which in some cases includes conversing with majestic creatures of the sea.5 stars

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    2019-03-02 06:28

    I read this in my self-proclaimed New Zealand November, 2015. I saw the movie based on the film a few years ago but only have a vague memory of it. The book comes from the perspective of Rawiri, the uncle of the girl Kahu. It is a very readable intertwining story of the modern day characters with the mythology of the gods of New Zealand and the ancient whales within their own societies and rituals. Whereas Once Were Warriors shows the Maori on the margins and struggling with poverty and violence, this novel takes a much more positive approach. The Maori in this novel are active in teaching their native languages and passing down traditions. What once was in danger of being lost - such as the ability to communicate with whales - looks like it might be preserved, if the Maori are willing to change with the times. Unexpectedly, there is a small diversion where the narrator travels to Australia and then to Papua New Guinea before embracing his Maori identity. This was great for me in my year of reading Oceania because he talks about the differences between the three countries and the treatment of the native populations. In particular that the PNG tribal groups had to live "one thousand year in one lifetime" because of the rate of change in technology and culture.

  • Trudie
    2019-03-19 07:16

    * 2.5 *I am having a wee moment of picking up New Zealand books that I should have read a long time ago and that have co-incidentally been made into films. Maurice Gee'sIn my Fathers Denwas my most recent foray and off the back of that I decided to read Witi Ihimaera's novelThe Whale Rider . Ihimaera has written quite a long list of books and short stories butThe Whale Rideris probably his most well known due to the 2002 film of the same name. It is a beautiful film. I highly recommend it. The book I was less enthusiastic about. What I did like was the melding of the rational world and the world of maori mythology. The opening sequence describing a primordial New Zealand complete with fairies and sentient Tuatara was quite evocative. The famous legend of Paikea who travels to NZ on the back of a whale is lovingly interpreted throughout this novel. I enjoyed Ihimaera's mythical, majestic whales right up until the point they started considering the genetic effects of oceanic radiation from Moruroa atoll, which seemed an anthropomorphism too far. Putting that issue to one side, in general I found the story-telling quite ham-fisted. The characters feel thin and underdeveloped. There was the odd decision to have the narrator travel to Sydney and Papua New Guinea for a few chapters. The story, in my opinion, is best when cleaving to that intersection between reality and myth. I don't think this book has aged particularly well, and might struggle against the more nuanced stories YA readers would now come to expect. I would love to find more NZ authors taking on our own myths and legends and weaving some fictional magic out of them but unfortunately this particular interpretation didn't work for me, but it did make an enduringly beautiful film.

  • Chrissie
    2019-03-07 11:05

    A gem that glistens. Beautiful. A contemporary rewriting of an ancient Maori legend. Its messages speak of the strength of women, but even more importantly of the oneness of the past and present, the rational and the irrational, what we understand and don’t understand and of all life on earth. This is young adult literature for adults.The audiobook narration by Kiwi Jay Laga’aia was well done. There is music throughout the recording, but it is the same snippet repeated over and over again. When will we get audiobooks with varied music and numerous songs? Anybody listening out there?

  • Jeannette Nikolova
    2019-03-05 05:21

    Also available on the WondrousBooks blog.Country: New ZealandIn all honesty, this was a peculiar little book. I both liked it, and didn't like it. I'm saying this in the sense that while I was reading The Whale Rider, I wasn't bored out of my mind. However, at the same time, I can't say that I actually enjoyed myself.So in a way, this book just was. The story was interesting in its entirety and the fairytale quality of the entire novel. There are two stories between which the narration shifts: "current times" and the birth of Kahu, a little girl who possesses the spirit of Maori mythology, but is not loved by her grandfather, who, as the "chief" of the community, wants a grandson and is always displeased with little Kahu; and the stories from the Maori legends about the whale riders, and the pain of a whale which was ridden by the last whale rider.As you can imagine, Kahu's story is very endearing and cute, and the whales' story has more of a surreal quality. However, this would be an oversimplification of how exactly wild this book gets at times. It's a wildness in the method and narration, rather than one in the actual events, but ultimately leads to a very fairytale-ish world of collision between myth and reality.This, however, can also be confusing, as I wasn't sure how I'm supposed to take the story: utter fiction? Mythological reality? Fairtytale? My confusion lead me to that awkward moment which one experiences when they meet someone who seems to be insane and one doesn't know if that person is joking/sarcastic, or really mentally unstable. (In all fairness, I'm in this situation more often than I should.)The other thing which a story like this heavily influences is the depth of the characters. Mythological characters are rarely very deep and well-developed, so in a book which is unsure about its allegiances with reality, expectedly, the characters were not really three intentional.Lastly, while I enjoyed the stories about Kahu, I was rather bored with the whale narration and the general repetitiveness of the book. Every encounter with Kahu and her grandfather, or the two of her grandparents just ended up being the exact same chapter over and over again, down to the actual expressions.On the positive side, I learned very interesting things, albeit minor ones, about the Maori culture and the belief system they have, to a degree. So, while this was not the most successful encounter, it was definitely not without virtues.

  • Mmars
    2019-02-25 10:04

    Oh boy howdy I put on my ice skates and slid my way through this one. It didn't take long for me to realize that: 1) I am a jaded YA reader from years in the biz 2) there's much better out there 3) I would never have read this if not for my book club. I really wanted to like it too. Other than the excellent The Bone People I have read little and know virtually nothing about the Maori people. Add a girl power element and mythology involving whales and I'm enticed.Unfortunately, my shackles are still shaking as I think about how important it is to put well written books into children's hands in order to turn them into lifelong readers. Here's a few basics: 1) If you use big words, provide context 2) Don't dumb down3) Every element of the story should clearly belong. Don't lose your reader.First, there were unfamiliar names in the legends. (This is excusable.) But, there were also lots of unfamiliar words in the opening scenes. Nuff said on that. I'm still struggling to decide if this book is a children's book or a YA book. At times it seemed to be written for grade schoolers and at others for young adults. Then there were things written over the heads of all of us. The narrator is sixteen years older than the subject, a young girl gifted to be the savior of her people. At times a scene would feel "childish" and at others more worldly. And only upon reflection did I understand how an "uncle" could have been killed in the car accident in New Guinea when all the Maori relatives live in New Zealand. Perhaps a very short (1-2 paragraphs) preface on terminology would have been helpful. And, when it comes right down to it, was that part of the story necessary? Would a young reader understand why it was included? But that's not all. I'll just dissect the scene that had me spitting spume. Fistfights erupt between the Maori and the New Zealanders who were mutilating beached whales. I'm going to paraphrase a bit, but here goes...."The gulls cried, outraged, as we vroomed through their [New Zealanders] gathering numbers. The first sight to greet out eyes was this old European lady who had sat down on a whale that some men were pulling onto the beach with a tractor. They had put a rope round the whale's rear flukes and were getting angrier and angrier with the woman, manhandling her away....We came to the rescue and that was the first fistfight of the day.....""There were several beefy guys loading a dismembered jaw onto the back [of a truck] As we approached we saw an old man scuffling with them. One of the young men smacked him in the mouth and the old man went down....We roared up to the truck. 'Hey, man' I hissed, 'that whale belongs to Tongaroa.'....'Who's stopping us?'...'We are," Billy said. He grabbed the chain saw [that the beefy guys were using to cut up the whales] started it up, and, next minute, had sawed the front tires of the truck. That started the second fistfight of the day. "Okay, I have to interject something here. Billy took the guy's chainsaw???? The beefy guy didn't like, try and stop him??? He sawed one tire and then walked/ran around the truck and then sawed the other one???? Okay, back to the story."It was at this stage that the police and rangers arrived. I guess they must have had trouble figuring out who were the good guys and who were the bad guys because they started to manhandle us as well."Are you kidding me?????So, there's a fight going on and the police/rangers don't immediately understand what's going on????Good guys and bad guys???? See what I mean about dumbing down????There's more to this scene, and it doesn't get any better.It's always interesting how writing reviews solidifies one's opinions of a book. I've now dropped it to one star. Just can't recommend it. I've heard the movie is really good. Skip the book. Try the movie.

  • Mel
    2019-03-20 11:19

    This book was amazing. The Māori culture was really interesting, and I love how Kahu and Nanny Flowers are constantly trying to fight the iwi's sexist, traditional ways. As a kiwi, I feel that this book has an amazing way of telling one of our many stories- all the Māori legends and myths we should know but don't. Witi has a unique way of writing stories, and it's captivating. 5☆

  • Sophie
    2019-03-05 09:26

    A beautiful story about the Maori culture, with a touch of magical realism, everything I love. Plus it's well-written and a quick read, I highly recommend!

  • Zaid
    2019-03-13 08:17

    It was an interesting book it showed how the females couldn’t gain traditional leadership of the Maori people but Kahu (short for Kahutia Te Rangi], an eight year old Maori girl who was a member of the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, kept trying to learn the ways of a leader and wants to become the chief of the tribe. Her grandfather Koro believes that this is a role reserved for males only. My favourite character in this book is the main lead, Kahu. Even though she is a young eight year old, she is brave, strong and determined to prove her love, her leadership and her destiny. The leader should be the first-born grandson – a direct descendant of Kahutia Te Rangi, the Whale Rider – he who rode on top of a whale from Hawaiki. However, Kahu is female and technically cannot inherit the leadership. But now there is no male heir, and the aging chief (her grandfather) 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.The main learning that i took from this book was that if something has been done a certain way for a certain time, it doesn't necessary need to be kept the same way. Determination and bravery goes a long way and we should do what we believe in and what we believe to be right.I enjoyed this book as this gave me an insight into the Maori culture but also told a story of a determined little girl and her quest to find her way into her grandfather's heart.

  • jess
    2019-03-07 07:08

    This book alternated between ancient mythology and the modern struggle of a young girl trying to take her place in society. The mythology portions tell the story of the whale rider, who was a long-ago ancestor who rode a giant ancient whale to the land where the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand live. The young girl is Eight-year-old Kahu. Kahu is the only great-grandchild of an aging chief who is desperate for a male heir to take his title. So, the parts about the mythology and the internal narrative of the giant whale were not the most compelling passages to me, but I liked Kahu and her struggle to be accepted by her grandfather. Her persistent love and optimism shone brightly through the old chief's scowl. You have to suspend disbelief almost entirely to get through the plot, but I enjoyed the journey. Note: there is a scene where a lot of giant whales start beaching themselves near Whangara. I know it's like, a metaphor for everything that's wrong but it made me so sad. I was seriously emotional. I would love to forget it, but it won't get out of my brain.

  • Amanda (musicalpoem)
    2019-02-26 10:33

    Loved this. Teared up and everything. It's a beautiful retelling of an old Maori legend, and the themes are transcendent. The dynamic between Kahu and Koro alternately made me smile and broke my heart, and I adored Nanny Flowers. Now I want to watch the movie.

  • Sotiris Karaiskos
    2019-02-26 10:06

    Έχω δει την κινηματογραφική μεταφορά αυτού του βιβλίου αρκετές φορές, μπορώ να πω ότι είναι μία από τις αγαπημένες μου ταινίες. Ως τώρα, όμως, δεν είχα διαβάσει το βιβλίο από όπου προήλθε και τελικά ήρθε ο καιρός να το κάνω. Φυσικά μοιραία αφού έχω δει πρώτα την ταινία κάνω συγκρίσεις μεταξύ των δύο μέσων. Ως γνωστόν είναι εντελώς διαφορετικός ο τρόπος που μπορεί να αφηγηθεί ένα βιβλίο μία ιστορία και ο τρόπος που μπορεί μία ταινία να το αποδώσει. Στο τέλος αυτό που μπορώ να πω είναι ότι υπάρχουν αρκετές διαφορές, αν και το πνεύμα του βιβλίου διατηρείται αναλλοίωτο. Έχουμε, λοιπόν, την ιστορία της εγγονής του αρχηγού μιας φυλής των Μαορί που έχει απέραντη αγάπη για την παράδοση των προγόνων της αλλά η αυστηρότητα των εθίμων δεν της επιτρέπει να έχει ιδιαίτερα ενεργό ρόλο στην διατήρηση της εξαιτίας του φύλου της. Αυτή, όμως, δεν τα παρατάει, δεν συμβιβάζεται και παρά το πολύ νεαρό της ηλικίας της αγωνίζεται απέναντι στα στερεότυπα και στην απόρριψη από τον παππού της - τον οποίο υπεραγαπά - για να αποκτήσει τη θέση που της αξίζει και να βοηθήσει το λαό της να μη χάσει την επαφή του με τον παρελθόν. Τη λύση στο τέλος θα τη δώσουν οι φάλαινες που πάντα ήταν στο πλευρό των προγόνων της. Ένα ιδιαίτερα συμβολικό έργο που πραγματεύεται πολλά θέματα, όπως την απώλεια της ξεχωριστής ταυτότητας απέναντι στην ομογενοποίηση, το ρόλο των γυναικών, τη σχέση του ανθρώπου με τη φύση, τον αγώνα του καθενός για να εκπληρώσει το πεπρωμένο του. Παράλληλα, όμως, ένα έργο που μας διηγείται μία πολύ συγκινητική ιστορία, με έναν τρόπο που αγγίζει τον αναγνώστη. Οπότε απέναντι σε ένα βιβλίο που προβληματίζει και συγκινεί και είναι τόσο όμορφα γραμμένο είναι υποχρέωση μου ο μέγιστος βαθμός.

  • Lindsay
    2019-02-17 10:34

    Such a beautiful, challenging book. Witi Ihimaera weaves a lush story, combining land and sea, past and present. The tragic scenes were incredibly heartbreaking--between Kahu's one-sided relationship with Koro and when the whales beach themselves, I about started crying at my work desk. And the triumphs were equally brilliant--as fluid and swift as the feeling evoked as the whales sliced through the sea.I would like to wonder out loud though as to the general designation of this book as children's literature. In the primary library in which I work, we shelve it as "J"...generally, chapter books for grade school and middle school readers. Ihimaera uses a reasonable amount of very erudite language that I imagine would be challenging even for some adult readers, and he addresses some rather adult issues of race and poaching through the novel's narrator, Kahu's Uncle Rawiri. I'm thinking specifically of two scenes: 1) The hit-and-run that occurs in Papua New Guinea when Rawiri's white friend, Jeff, hits and kills a native (and friend) on the side of the road with his family's car, and the family urges him to drive on because "It's only a native," and the tribe might seek retribution; and 2) The horrific and immensely sad scene when a herd of 200 whales beach themselves and poachers come to dismember the bodies before they've actually died.I wonder sometimes what differentiates a children's book from an adult book. Just because Kahu is an 8-year-old doesn't mean necessarily that it should be a book for 8-year-olds (I wouldn't suggest a child read Bastard out of Carolina just because it has a young protagonist). I think this book has definite crossover appeal along the lines of To Kill a Mockingbird, and after viewing the movie after reading this book, I can see how they toned down a lot of the various conflict in the book to make it more kid-friendly. But that's the movie, which is great in its own right, and this is the book. Other libraries consider it a Young Adult book, but in a general sense of its audience, would a teen want to read a book in which its main character only reaches the age of 8? I haven't done any research yet into this question, but I wonder if Ihimaera intended for The Whale Rider to be a children's book or if this was the publisher's marketing idea? Hmmm...just some questions.Despite all this(!), I really did truly enjoy the book, especially for its insight on Maori culture, the ecological concerns of a world very different from mine, and the bravery and persistence of Kahu. I would absolutely recommend it, focusing on more mature readers.-----Yay! The BBC World Book Club interviewed Witi Ihimaera and used one of my questions! Ihimaera provides a moving and eye-opening commentary about the book--you should check it out.

  • Simoa
    2019-03-17 10:09

    Prose that reads like poetry, soulful and enigmatic. Myth and magic intertwined in the present day. Bold, compassionate, colorful people. This is a really powerful story which was translated so beautifully on film. "I am not afraid to die." I've always had a soft spot for pure hearted heroes who sacrifice themselves for their community. This book has become so special to me. I can't wait to revisit it again and again.

  • Glaiza
    2019-03-02 08:31

    Immersive writing that draws on close connections between Māori mythology and family. Loved the focus on harmony with the environment, home and identity. Jay Laga'aia, the audiobook narrator was fantastic too. Full review here:

  • Margaret
    2019-03-17 05:23

    Phenomenal. Incredible prose, breathtaking execution, a story with soul to it. I don't remember the last time a book brought tears to my eyes because it was so beautiful. Highly recommend to everyone.

  • Anna [Floanne]
    2019-02-17 11:08

    4.5 stars“La Balena e la Bambina” è una piccola ma splendida fiaba Maori in cui mi sono imbattuta per puro caso la scorsa settimana mentre curiosavo tra gli scaffali della bibloteca locale. Non avevo nemmeno mai sentito parlare del ben più celebre film che ne è stato tratto nel 2002 e che ha riscosso notevole successo al botteghino: vincitore del Toronto International Film Festival e del più noto Sundance Film Festival, ha fruttato alla sua interprete principale, la giovanissima Keisha Castle-Huges, la candidatura agli Oscar 2004 come miglior attrice protagonista. Ma tutto sommato, meglio cosi: forse non avrei apprezzato pienamente il libro.La vicenda ha inizio quando, in un piccolo villaggio sulla costa neozelandese, viene alla luce Kahu, nipote del capo tribù Koro Apirana, la cui unica colpa agli occhi della comunità è quella di essere nata femmina… Da sempre, infatti, la tradizione Maori stabilisce che a prendere le redini della tribù possa essere solo un erede maschio, come maschio fu il capostipite della tribù, Paikea, il quale, secondo la leggenda fondativa, approdò sulle coste neozelandesi dopo un epico viaggio sul dorso di una balena e lì fondò il villaggio di Whangara e la sua comunità. Secoli dopo, il vecchio Koro Apirana, vedendo interrotta la discendenza maschile, si prodiga come un matto nella ricerca di un erede maschio e si fa promotore della cultura Maori, organizzando corsi di lingua, tradizioni e leggende riservati ai soli bimbi maschi del villaggio. Acciecato dalla propria chiusura mentale, il vecchio rifiuta di continuo l’affetto della piccola nipotina che, però, stravede per lui. Crescendo, Kahu diventa la sua ombra: lo segue ovunque di nascosto, e cerca di apprendere quanto più le riesce sulle tradizioni Maori e sul mare, proprio per conquistare il cuore del burbero capo tribù e per dimostrarsi degna della propria discendenza.A difesa del diritto di Kahu alla leadership della comunità, si schiera un altro personaggio femminile incredibilmente forte: Nonna Flowers. Moglie di Koro Apirana, nonna Flowers è in continua lotta col marito, che definisce troppo tradizionalista e retrogrado e che chiama affettuosamente (ma non troppo) “paka”, “canaglia” in lingua Maori. Secondo Nonna Flowers, le donne Maori hanno oramai ampiamente dimostrato di avere un ruolo forte nella moderna società Maori e non sono più disposte a farsi accantonare sulla base di antiche leggende. Da qui, la quotidana e buffissima minaccia della nonna di divorziare da Paka e andare a vivere con un arzillo vecchietto che fu la sua prima fiamma in gioventù!Intanto gli anni passano e Kahu cresce nel totale disinteresse del nonno, anche se in svariate occasioni dà piccoli segnali del suo essere speciale. Nessuno lo sa, ma Kahu ha un dono che oramai l’uomo moderno ha perso: lei riesce ancora a parlare alle balene. In Kahu, infatti, complice forse la purezza che solo i bimbi possiedono, vive ancora lo spirito degli antenati. E sarà proprio questo spirito a riemergere in tutta la sua forza in un momento tragico e straziante per la piccola comunità di pescatori. Questa fiaba, solo all’apparenza banale con il suo linguaggio volutamente semplice ed infantile, tocca in realtà tantissime tematiche importanti. Ed è cosi che affiora, ad esempio, il tema della presa di coscienza del nuovo ruolo delle donne in una società per molti versi ancora tribale come quella Maori; o ancora, la perdita del rapporto di rispetto tra Uomo-Natura e le conseguenze che da tutto ciò stanno scaturendo, soprattutto in luoghi cosi profondamente legati all’elemento naturale e da esso dipendenti per la sopravvivenza quotidiana, come certe isole della Nuova Zelanda (ma si potrebbe parlare di Amazzonia o Polo Nord e la situazione non sarebbe poi migliore!). C’e poi la tematica dell’emigrazione forzata che affligge le nuove generazioni di queste terre sperdute: ecco, quindi, che la voce narrante del libro, lo zio Rawiri, ad un certo punto lascia il suo Paese e va in Australia per fare esperienza e cercare un futuro diverso da quello che Whangara potrebbe offrirgli.Una particolarità stilistica di questo libro che mi ha molto affascinata è che si sviluppa anche su una dimensione parallela alla narrazione delle vicende di Kahu e della sua famiglia. E’ la dimensione più ancestrale del mito originario, dove protagonista è il branco di balene che portò sul proprio dorso Paikea e il lettore, ascoltando la voce stessa della balena-totem, ne segue il peregrinare negli abissi, fino all’epilogo (molto intenso e che confesso mi ha commossa) che vede i due universi – quello reale e quello mitologico – incontrarsi nuovamente e fondersi in una terza dimensione, sospesa a metà tra realtà e immaginazione, sulla superficie dell’oceano illuminato dalla luna e “tutto intorno le balene saltavano, riempiendo l’aria di spruzzi lucenti come diamanti... Hui e, haumi e, taiki e. Che sia."

  • Judy Croome
    2019-02-21 07:09

    Written in 1987, THE WHALE RIDER is a deceptively short book. Only 120 pages long, it’s a richly layered story dealing with several major social issues: family relationships, gender discrimination, generational differences, racial prejudice, loss of the cultural identity of indigenous tribes, ecological conservationism and modern man’s disconnection from his spiritual self.Kahu is a young Maori girl who, from the moment of her birth, had a deep connection with her great-grandfather Koro Apirana, a powerful Maori Chieftan. Custodian of his people’s indigenous culture, Koro searches desperately for his successor: a boy who, for the good of all his people, will value and understand the ancient Maori traditions as much as Koro does. Kahu’s uncle Rawiri, who narrates most of the story, and her great-grandmother Nanni Flowers, see in Kahu’s spirit that which Koro seeks: the soul of the future Chieftan who will lead the Maoris of Whangara into the 21st century. But Kahu is a girl and, in Maori tradition, only men can perform the sacred traditions that keep the Maori people blessed of their gods and their ancestors.From the delightfully subversive feminist Nanni Flowers to good guy Rawiri who, along with a diverse group of people tried desperately to save 200 beached whales (one of the several scenes in the book which had me sobbing out loud), to the serene, compassionate and otherworldly Kahu, the story is filled with remarkable characters. These include the Old Whale, an ancient sea-creature that has survived for centuries to ensure that Kahu meets her destiny of ensuring that the sacred Maori traditions shall live on into the new century.The lyrical, almost magical, descriptions of the herd of whales’ journeys through the depths of the great oceans contrast beautifully with Rawiri’s simple, down-to-earth narrative. The boneless, weightless feel of the writing in the whale scenes recreate both a transcendent spiritual state and the sensation of swimming underwater. From the comical rendition of the constant bickering of Koro Apirana and his wife Nanni Flowers, to the well of emotion that has him spontaneously performing the haka to support Kahu at her school prize-giving, Rawiri’s gentle perceptions of his extended Maori family reveal the deep bonds of love and culture holding them together. “Family,” he says to his white friend Jeff, “is Family.” Some of the Maori terms were, at times, confusing and the edition I read did not have a glossary of Maori terms, which would have been useful. This lack, however, did not detract from the lush splendour of THE WHALE RIDER, a beautiful story of hope and promise.

  • Shakaela
    2019-02-21 12:05

    "The Whale Rider" was a book I was quite drawn to, as I am a kiwi, and I love New Zealand. I really felt for Kahu (or Pai) especially, and now I will look up to her as a favoured character. If I was in English class, I'd write a long descript essay into the characters and the morals etc... But I don't feel the need for that level of depth right now. I really liked being carried back to the days before I was born in Aotearoa, and then feeling the effects history has on a country and its people. It was interesting how the folklore of Pai weaved into Kahu's family, although I take the stories lightly as I have faith only in the one true God.I'm in the process of learning the Maori language, so I liked how Maori words were incorporated into the book, as I had the chance to catch onto some new words.If you read this book, you will have a greater love and understanding for culture and diversity, and hopefully appreciate your brothers and sisters more if you haven't before. I want to watch the movie now. :D

  • Wendy
    2019-02-21 11:16

    This is a super fast read, unsurprisingly, given the reading level. There are a lot of Maori words--don't make my mistake and find out about the glossary halfway through the book, yeah? It's back there, and very useful.The story is good, if a little...oddly told. The choice to render the story from the uncle's point of view was odd and annoyed me a few times. That said, it has some very beautiful parts in it, and I think it's a good book to have kids read.This is going to sound like sacrilege, this case, I liked the movie better--I would give the movie all five stars, if I were rating it here. It's probably because I saw it before I read it, and also because I'm not a kid, so for me the story went a little too fast and skated right over things that, in a book for adults, might have meant some meaty drama. The movie wasn't for kids, so it doesn't have that problem.Still, it will only take you a couple of hours, maybe less, and you won't regret having read it.

  • Rusty
    2019-02-18 11:07

    A beautiful story by a talented writer. It's so charming yet has some very real messages. Man over-fishes his seas and out of his greed changes the balance in nature, particularly in this case with regard to whales. Many men choose to kill those who beach themselves rather than trying to turn them back into the sea to save them.I found Kahu an enchanting heroine who adores her grandfather, Koro. Koro was so disappointed that his first grandchild was a daughter. Only a son, he believes, can inherit the Maori legacy of communicating with whales. Of course, the story challenges this belief as Kahu proves to be an out standing young woman in every way. She leads her class scholastically and focuses on learning the Maori language. Of course, there is more but I have probably already revealed too much. Read it and enjoy it or listen to the audio. Those who have seen the movies love that as well.

  • Elizabeth A
    2019-03-03 13:32

    I saw the movie based on this novella when it came out years ago, and remember really liking it. I listened to the audiobook wonderfully narrated by Jay Laga'aia, and would recommend the audio as there are Maori phrases and music that add to the enjoyment of this story. I love creation stories, and this one retells an ancient Maori legend juxtaposed with the present day lives of the Maori. Kahu is a young Maori girl who has the misfortune of not being born the boy her Great-Grandfather desperately wanted. This story switches back and forth between her struggle to find her place in the world, and the reminiscences of the ancient whale of legends. The book is populated with wonderful characters, and explores themes of holding on to one's culture in a modern world, gender politics, and coming of age in a changing world. While written for a young adult audience, this one is a lovely read for adults as well.

  • Nancy Brady
    2019-02-17 11:33

    Maori chieftain Koro's hopes are dashed when Kahu, a great granddaughter, is born as she is next in line for the title. Girls are nothing in his eyes and he needs a male to continue his line as the chief of his tribe.Through the years Kahu tries to win his love but to no avail, yet she is the "whale rider." She has inherited from the original whale rider himself the ability to communicate with the whales. Will he ever see for what she is? Will she ever win his love? Maori words and tradition are throughout this novel set in New Zealand or as the native people call it Aotearoa (the land of the long white clouds).

  • george
    2019-02-22 11:27

    Kahu is the eldest great-grandchild of Kori, the chief of the Maori in Whangara, New Zealand. Unfortunately, Kahu is a girl and therefore Kori has no interest in her because he is only focused on finding the next leader of the tribe. Kahu showers Kori with love and admiration despite the fact that he continuously dismisses her and he continues his classes for the the males in the tribe and searches for the "one." This is a heartwarming story of a detrmined little girl and her quest to find her way into her great-grandfather's heart. The combination of Maori legend and the present day is amazing and makes for an interesting and good novel.

  • Holly
    2019-02-18 05:18

    I read this as a part of my attempt to read more New Zealand literature. I saw the film years ago and can’t remember a lot about it, but I do remember my mum being very moved by it. I was probably too young to fully understand what the characters were experiencing. What I missed from the film I undoubtedly found in the book. This book was the perfect length and I was able to read it in one sitting. Kahu was the most delightful heroine and Ihimaera’s storytelling was spot-on.

  • Leo
    2019-03-04 08:05

    I did not like this book at all - at times there was no meaning in the text and there were no parts that were merely amusing or entertaining. Although it claimed to be a story of the history of the Maori-New Zealand tribe, many parts of the book were irrelevant to the main plot.

  • Michelle Boyer
    2019-03-06 07:28

    Witi Ihimaera wrote the novel Whale Rider in response to his daughter’s wondering why there were no female heroes in the stories and films they were viewing—such a wonderful question for 1987 when most literature did revolve, arguably, around male characters—but even more significantly, Ihimaera’s daughters also expressed concern that there were even fewer Maori characters in the world. Thus, the novel (later to become a film adaptation) was born. It is a great example of Maori literature, Young Adult Literature, and so much more. I have included some highlights below, broken down by section. Prologue- “The only reluctant ones were the fairy people, who retreated with their silver laughter to caves in glistening waterfalls” (p5)- “For the sacred sign was on the monster, a swirling tattoo imprinted on the forehead” (p5)- “And the song in the sea drenched the air with ageless music, and land and sea opened themselves to him, the gift long waited for: tangata, man” (p6)- “It flew across a thousand years” (p6)- “Let it be done” (p7) –a phrase that is repeated as part of oral traditionSpring- Birthing of the whale (p11)- “Watching, the ancient bull whale was swept up in memories of his own birthing. His mother had been saved by sharks three months later; crying over her in the shallows of Hawaiki, he had been succored by the golden human who became his master” (p11)- “But his elder females were fearful; for them, that rhapsody of adolescence, that song of the flute, seemed only to signify that their leader was turning his thoughts to the dangerous islands to the southwest” (p12)- Grandfather Koro upset that the first daughter of the family is a girl, stating “She has broken the male line of descent in our tribe” (p13)- “Koro Apirana could not reconcile his traditional beliefs about Maori leadership and rights with Kahu’s birth. By Maori custom, leadership was hereditary, and normally the mantle of prestige fell from the eldest son to the eldest son. Except that in this case, there was an eldest daughter” (p16)- Traditional burial of the birth cord is discussed (p20-21)- Whales call from the sea, saying “Let it be done” (p23)Summer- The section is subtitled Halcyon’s Flight; can be used as an adjective to be idyllic, peaceful time; in literature an Asian/African kingfisher; as a noun is a mythical bird who breeds in a floating nest at sea at the winter solstice, charming the wind and the waves into a calm (p25)- “The elderly females assisted the younger mothers, shepherding the newborn in the first journey from the cetacean crib” (p27)- Rehua, Kahu’s mother, dies (p29)- “It was surprising how closely Kahu and Koro Apirana resembled each other. The only difference was that she loved him but he didn’t love her” (p33-34)- The purpose of new instructions are “to keep the Maori language going, and to increase the strength of the tribe” (p35)- “Whenever asked, the whale would attend the call, as long as the mariner possessed the necessary authority and knew the way of talking to whales” (p40)- “… some people say the whale was transformed into an island” (p40)- “So it was that ceremonials of respect were employed between man and sea. For instance, finish was sacred and women therefore did not go out with the men, and fishing grounds became steeped in special rituals to ensure their bounty” (p41)- “…in these days of commercialism, it is not always easy to resist temptation” (p50)- “Listen to how empty our sea has become” (p50)Autumn- Paikea the sea god is first mentioned (p57); keep in mind that in the film adaptation Kuha is actually named Pai- “Koro had accepted that Porourangi would be ‘the one’ in our generation to carry on the leadership of the people, but he was still looking for ‘the one’ in the next generation” (p71)- “Our Koro was like an old whale stranded in an alien present, but that was how it was supposed to be, because he also had his role in the pattern of things, in the tides of the future” (p72)- “… I loved her all the more for her vulnerability” (p86)- “…young girl who was not really so brave and who would have liked the support of the one person who was never there—her Koro” (p87) in regards to the fact that Koro misses an important school event that Kahu invited him toWinter- “But the whales were like confused children, milling and jostling out in the deeper water, and they kept trying to return to those who were still stranded along the beach, darting back to those who were already dead” (p105)- “I will never forget the look on Kahu’s face. She was gazing out to sea and it was as if she was looking back into the past. It was a look of calm, of acceptance. It forced s all to turn to see what Kahu was seeing” (p111) - “On the head of the whale was the sacred sign. A swirling tattoo, flashing its power across the darkening sky” (p113)- There is a whale rider- “… it is time for the women to act the men” (p121)- “There is no place for it here in this world. The people who once commanded it are no longer here … When it dies, we die. I die” says Koro when discussing the whale washed up (p122)- “The tribe watched in silence, waiting for the whale to die” (p123)Epilogue- “The sea hissed and sparkled with love for the ancient bull whale, and every now and then, the oldest mother whale would close in on him, gently, to nuzzle him, caress him, and kiss him just to let him know how much he had been missed. But in her heart of hearts, she knew that he was badly wounded and near to exhaustion” (p137)- Discussion of a “sign of feminine submission” (p140)- “She wanted to make sure that the bull whale really understood that the rider was Paikea’s descendant, and if it was not returned to the surface and taken back to the land, then it would not fulfill its tasks” (p141)

  • ดินสอ สีไม้
    2019-03-13 13:27

    พล็อตเรื่องก็น่าสนใจดีแต่เรียงลำดับเรื่องยังไงไม่รู้มันเล่าแบบค่อยเป็นค่อยไป ให้เส้นเรื่องเรียบง่าย เข้าใจง่ายกว่านี้ได้วิธีเล่าไม่โอเคบอกไม่ถูกว่าเป็นที่สำนวนแปลหรือต้นฉบับกันแน่ส่วนที่เป็นตำนานเรื่องเล่าก็ดูน่าสนใจ น่าสนุกดีแต่ส่วนที่เป็นตำนาน ก็มีชื่อประหลาดๆ แทรกคั่นเป็นระยะบางอย่างก็ดูไม่จำเป็น อยู่ผิดที่ผิดเวลาต้องตั้งใจอ่าน คอยจำชื่อตัวละครหรือเทพเจ้าชื่อแปลกๆจะอ่านเรื่อยๆ เพลินๆ ไม่ได้เลยการดึงดราม่าปู่ทวดกับเหลน ก็ทำได้ไม่สุดอ่านจบแล้วไม่ฟิน เสียดายพล็อต

  • David
    2019-03-07 06:22

    This is a good story, moving and emotional if perhaps a little simple (clearly by design). The whale parts can seem a little puffed, likely a result of trying to make them seem more mythic and less mundane, but all in all some nice stuff.

  • Anna
    2019-02-18 12:09

    A good book filled with a lot of important topics, but I wish I would have read it when I was younger.