Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
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.<br> Now available in simultaneous hardcover and paperback editions. <br> Feature film in theaters in June 2003! <br>
Originally published: Auckland [New Zealand] : Reed Books, 1987.
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.
"Winner Audience Award, 2003 Sundance Film Festival"--Cover.
Excerpt provided by Syndetics
<anon I1="BLANK" I2="BLANK">ONEIn the old days, in the years that have gone before us, the land and sea felt a great emptiness, a yearning. The mountains were like a stairway to heaven, and the lush green rainforest was a rippling cloak of many colors. The sky was iridescent, swirling with the patterns of wind and clouds; sometimes it reflected the prisms of rainbow or southern aurora. The sea was ever-changing, shimmering and seamless to the sky. This was the well at the bottom of the world, and when you looked into it you felt you could see to the end of forever.This is not to say that the land and sea were without life, without vivacity. The tuatara, the ancient lizard with its third eye, was sentinel here, unblinking in the hot sun, watching and waiting to the east. The moa browsed in giant wingless herds across the southern island. Within the warm stomach of the rainforests, kiwi, weka, and the other birds foraged for huhu and similar succulent insects. The forests were loud with the clatter of tree bark, chatter of cicada, and murmur of fish-laden streams. Sometimes the forest grew suddenly quiet, and in wet bush could be heard the filigree of fairy laughter like a sparkling glissando.The sea, too, teemed with fish, but they also seemed to be waiting. They swam in brilliant shoals, like rains of glittering dust, throughout the greenstone depths-hapuku, manga, kahawai, tamure, moki, and warehou-herded by shark or mango ururoa. Sometimes from far off a white shape would be seen flying through the sea, but it would only be the serene flight of the tarawhai, the stingray with the spike on its tail.Waiting. Waiting for the seeding. Waiting for the gifting. Waiting for the blessing to come.Suddenly, looking up at the surface, the fish began to see the dark bellies of the canoes from the east. The first of the Ancients were coming, journeying from their island kingdom beyond the horizon. Then, after a period, canoes were seen to be returning to the east, making long cracks on the surface sheen. The land and the sea sighed with gladness:We have been found.The news is being taken back to the place of the Ancients.Our blessing will come soon.In that waiting time, earth and sea began to feel the sharp pangs of need, for an end to the yearning. The forests sent sweet perfumes upon the eastern winds and garlands of pohutukawa upon the eastern tides. The sea flashed continuously with flying fish, leaping high to look beyond the horizon and to be the first to announce the coming; in the shallows, the chameleon sea horses pranced at attention. The only reluctant ones were the fairy people, who retreated with their silver laughter to caves in glistening waterfalls.The sun rose and set, rose and set. Then one day, at its noon apex, the first sighting was made. A spume on the horizon. A dark shape rising from the greenstone depths of the ocean, awesome, leviathan, breaching through the surface and hurling itself skyward before falling seaward again. Underwater the mute Excerpted from The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.</anon>
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
The feature film version of Ihimaera's 1987 novel recently took the top prize at the Sundance Film Festival and is making the rounds at art houses throughout the country, which should make this popular. A young New Zealand tribal girl endeavors to break old traditions and be named chief, a role historically held only by males. Since the text contains numerous words in Maori, the book is capped with a glossary.(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book Review
In this book, now a movie, Kahu is shunned by her grandfather, a modern-day Maori chief who wanted a male grandchild to carry on the tribal leadership. The guileless young girl proves her merit, however, when an ancient whale is beached on a nearby shore. KahuÆs story has the power of a myth, though the use of an adult narrator (KahuÆs uncle) and the novelÆs many slow, mystical passages may distance young readers. Glos. From HORN BOOK Spring 2004, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.