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About the book
  • Published: 27 November 2008
  • ISBN: 9780143011392
  • Imprint: Raupo
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192
  • RRP: $22.95
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The Whale Rider




A classic novel that became a classic film.

An international bestseller that was made into a multiple award-winning film.

Eight-year-old Kahu craves her great-grandfather's love and attention. But he is focused on his duties as chief of a Maori tribe in Whangara, on the East Coast of New Zealand - a tribe that claims descent from the legendary 'whale rider'. In every generation since the whale rider, a male has inherited the title of chief. But now there is no male heir - there's only Kahu. She should be the next in line for the title, but her great-grandfather is blinded by tradition and sees no use for a girl.

Kahu will not be ignored. And in her struggle she has a unique ally: the whale rider himself, from whom she has inherited the ability to communicate with whales. Once that sacred gift is revealed, Kahu may be able to re-establish her people's ancestral connections, earn her great-grandfather's attention - and lead her tribe to a bold new future.

  • Pub date: 27 November 2008
  • ISBN: 9780143011392
  • Imprint: Raupo
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192
  • RRP: $22.95

About the Author

Witi Ihimaera

Witi Ihimaera was the first Maori to publish both a book of short stories and a novel, and has published many notable novels and collections of short stories. Described by Metro magazine as ‘Part oracle, part memoralist,’ and ‘an inspired voice, weaving many stories together’, Ihimaera has also written for stage and screen, edited books on the arts and culture, as well as published various works for children.

His best-known novel is The Whale Rider, which was made into a hugely, internationally successful film in 2002. His novel Nights in the Garden of Spain was also made into a feature film, and was distributed internationally under the name of Kawa. The feature film White Lies was based on his novella Medicine Woman. And his novel Bulibasha, King of the Gypsies inspired the 2016 feature film Mahana. His first book, Pounamu, Pounamu, has not been out of print in the 40 years since publication.

He has also had careers in diplomacy, teaching, theatre, opera, film and television. He has received numerous awards, including the Wattie Book of the Year Award, the Montana Book Award, the inaugural Star of Oceania Award, University of Hawaii, a laureate award from the New Zealand Arts Foundation 2009, the Toi Maori Maui Tiketike Award 2011, and the Premio Ostana International Award, presented to him in Italy 2010. In 2004 he became a Distinguished Companion of the Order of New Zealand, in 2017 France made him Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the same year he received the NZ Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement.

Receiving the Maori arts award Te Tohutiketike a Te Waka Toi, Ihimaera said, ‘To be given Maoridom’s highest cultural award, well, it’s recognition of the iwi. Without them, I would have nothing to write about and there would be no Ihimaera. So this award is for all those ancestors who have made us all the people we are. It is also for the generations to come, to show them that even when you aren’t looking, destiny has a job for you to do.’

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Praise for The Whale Rider

“Like his other books it explores Maori culture in contemporary New Zealand, in this case, the crisis that occurs when the first-born to whom traditions are entrusted turns out to be a girl. However there are significant differences between the book and film . . . The book or the film? I’m glad I had the vivid film images in my mind as I read, but I prefer the book.”

Lisa Hill, ANZ Litlovers

“a profoundly enchanting story that will hold [you] in its grip right up to its tender conclusion”

Amanda Cuda, Curledup.com

“how often does a book change your life? It would take some pretty powerful words to make something like that happen - but those are exactly the kind of words that make up Whale Rider. Whale Rider is a magical tale of survival, stubbornness and destiny. . . . You are in for a bit of an emotional rollercoaster with Whale Rider. As you follow Kahu and her family, you'll soon realize that they're not that different from you and your family. They struggle, fight, laugh, cry and have no idea how to make things perfect. . . . This is most definitely one of the most amazing books you will read in a really long time. Not only will you walk away feeling a little more cultured and inspired after reading Whale Rider, you won't have to give up a lot of time to do it. If you've been lucky enough to catch the movie version of Whale Rider you will notice quite a few differences, but you'll still be able to enjoy this very unique tale. (Five stars)”

Kidzworld.com


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