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Publisher's Summary

The classic book that inspired the award-winning, internationally released film Whale Rider, winner of Best Film at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and 2004 Academy Awards Best Actress nomination for Keisha Castle-Hughes. Eight-year-old Kahu craves her great-grandfather's love and attention. But he's focused in his duties as Chief, in a tribe that claims decent from the legendary "whale rider". A male has always inherited the title of Chief, but now there is no male heir. There's only Kahu, and her great-grandfather sees no use for a girl. Kahu will not be ignored. And in her struggle she has a unique ally: the whale rider himself.
©1987 Witi Ihimaera; (P)2004 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"A poetic blend of reality and myth provides a riveting tale of adventure and passion." (School Library Journal)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

Kahu, her great-grandfather, and the whale rider

I stepped into this one backwards. I saw the movie first, then looked for the book. I read the book, then just recently listened to the audiobook thanks to a friend who had it on her ipod. If you like stories of ancient tradition or stories where characters struggle against ancient tradition, this is a good one. The Whale Rider offers a look into the world of a tribe that decends from the legendary "whale rider" and the struggle of Kahu to overcome tradition and be recognized for who she is (and who she can become). This is a good story, and one I would recommend.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

a joy!

Inspiring story for anyone; suitable for "tween agers", but my parents and i really enjoyed it on a drive to California. We had loved the movie, and the book was another joy. The Maori sounding music between chapters added to the mood.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Maori legend retold - for kids and adults

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 Kiwian 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?


3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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The Mighty Maori Women

A beautiful and in depth journey into the culture of the Maori people, and an inspiring advocation for the role of women in all phases and forms of life. I loved every second!

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It tries way to hard

The book deals with several issues faceing today's indigenous people, but the way it does so feels forced and one-sided, which sort of spoils the point.

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beautiful

made me smile, cheer and cry. a beautiful and inspiring book. makes me so proud to be indigenous. love this book.

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Good for traveling through New Zealand

Wonderful insight into contemporary Maori culture and the importance of their sacred relationship with the ancient whales. Listened to this touching story as I was traveling in New Zealand - great choice! Excellent performance/reading. Can't wait to see the movie.