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The Whale Rider is a contemporary story of love rejection and triumph It brings a flood of emotions to any viewer as everyone sees a moral for themselves perhaps different to the next This film is a magnificent portrayal of life in a tribe based upon ancient laws and mentality As legend has it Kahutia-te-Rangi ancestor of the people of Te Tai Rawhiti the place washed by the eastern tide travelled from Hawaiiki land of the Ancients His canoe capsized on its way He escaped certain death on the back of a whale that took him to shore To commemorate this voyage he was named Paikea His descendants live on Whangara on the east coast of the north side of New Zealand Today hundreds of years later the marae people still have Paikea the Whale Rider as their figurehead on their ridgepole In 1986 author Witi Ihimaera originally from New Zealand now living in New York City saw a whale stranded up the Hudson River This sight brought back memories of his people and made him homesick for the area he grew up in He thought of the story of the ancestor of his area Over a period of just three weeks inspired by his culture and background he wrote the Whale Rider It is a story of Kahutia-te-Rangi a story of Whangara of small-town rural New Zealand and of the changing and breaking of years of Maori tradition and teaching It tells of the Maori chief whose eldest grandchild turns out to be a girl and not the boy he wanted This girl called Kahutia or Kahu could be the next chief Fourteen years later a New Zealand movie begins taking the world by storm Winning awards at Sundance amazing critics at Toronto stunning audiences at film festivals everywhere and nipping at the heels of the highest takings for a New Zealand movie on its opening weekend Whale Rider is billed
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