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Whale Rider

March 23, 2013

ImageThe Most inspirational Girl I’ve ever seen.  


1)  In the film “Whale Rider”, Paikea is shown as a counter stereotype.  Paikea was an out spoken 12 year old who was brave and had they same skills the boys had.  Kora was not please to have Paikea as a granddaughter, she challenged traditions, also because she survived as her twin brother died.  He was suppose to be the next leader of there community.  Paikea was determined to prove to Koro that she was not like every other girl in the community but she was different.  Paikea wanted to learn the traditions of the assenters.  Paikea was raised differently then the other girls in the community, as well as the older ladies in the community like Nanny.  Paikea wanted to learn how to be a warrior so she asked her uncle to teach her to use a taiaha, as he won competitions when he was younger.  Paikea had to ask her uncle as this was only available to boys, and she would be breaking the rules, Koro would not let her anywhere near that area.  Even though we saw Paikea as a strong independent girl who was able to handle what most of the boys could not Koro, would not trust her and would not let her learn any of the traditions the boys were able to.  Therefore she took matters into her own hands and did it anyway to prove to Koro she was different.  Men will always be seen to be stronger then women, men have different expectations then women and that is how life will be in some cultures. Most cultures will not acknowledge that women can be strong and dominate, and something other than a house wife.  During the film Paikea manages to change Koro’s mind as she is the one who is willing to die so that the ancestors can be at peace or that she is the one who dove to get the whale tooth when none of the other boys her age were able to get that.  That was a great disappointment to Koro.  After Paikea sacrificed herself, Nanny gave the whale tooth to Koro, even though he was still certain that it was one of the boys who dove and got it.  Nanny made it clear that it was Paikea, at the end of the movie Koro acknowledge that Paikea was the leader they had been waiting for.

2)   Paikea has empowerment in her blood.  She is a hero to her Koro as well as to the community, Paikea is the next prophet, and first female leader.  She tested the boundaries that none of the women would ever have to the courage to test.  They were raised to be housewives, Paikea wanted to be more than a housewife she wanted to be someone.  It has reminded me that I can do anything I set my mind too, just because I am a girl I can still push the limits that I feel I have a right too.  Paikea challenges Koro to be an equal, equal to the boys in the community and be able to learn the traditions and skills that the boys are able to learn, because they are boys they have an obligation to the community to learn.  Paikea wants to learn as she is interested and feels she has the same rights.  Paikea is a statement of empowerment in more then those ways.  The community comes together when Paikea calls the ancestors for help for Koro.  The whales that are the ancestors’ come and are stuck on the beach dying.  Everyone trying to get together to bring the whales back into the water so they can live tests the communities’ strength.  The whales would not move and they all give up, however Paikea is the only one who tries harder then the rest.  She sacrifices herself to keep the community strong. Paikea is a strong and inspiring girl. 

3)  Whale Rider is an example of “counter-cinema” rather then a typical Hollywood film as Paikea story is based on traditions and things that would be happening in everyday life.  “Hollywood films” base facts on a false reality, things that do not happen on a daily biases, Hollywood is trying to bring in the money and show people what they are hoping to see.  People go to the movies to get away from everyday challenges.  Whale rider is showing the challenges that this community is facing.  In Hollywood films women are shown sometimes as weak or being what they want to get as easy.  In the Paikea shows that what she is determined to get is worth working towards.  She does not let the challenges that she faces with Koro stand in the way of what she believes in.  Whale Rider shows problems that families face on a daily bases.  I know that in my family I need to fight to have the same privileges that my brothers have.  There is a bias as I am the only girl in the family and I have two older brothers.  They can do things I am not able to do.  Counter- cinema shows those challenges in movies.  They often are not the most popular movies but are the most inspiring movies.  Paikea fought for what felt was right and in the end she won. Whale Rider has inspired to me to fight for what I know is right.  If a young girl who has all odds against her can continue fighting I’m sure the rest of us can.


Caro, N. (Director), Ihimaera, W. (Writer), & Caro, N. (2002). Whale rider [Theater].

HOSSAIN, R. (2011, July 13). [Web log message]. Retrieved from


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