Whale Rider

What an awesome movie! I just got back from watching it, and I loved it.

Especially reccommended to Kiwis - it reminded me so much of the way people talk back home.

Fantastic acting.


I saw it in September on the plane back from Singapore, and yes, Bri, it did remind me of you - they all seemed to have the same accent as you :wink:

It’s a great movie! Unpretentious and great acting, much less pathos than LOTR and twice as moving.


5 Pizzas

Hyperbole perhaps, but I’d say it was perhaps the best film I’ve seen this year. Should be required viewing for everyone whose knowledge of modern Maori culture ends with Once Were Warriors.

Anyone know where I can land Whale Rider on VCD? To my embarrassment and regret, I missed it while it was screening back home…

Vid stores have both DVDs and VCDs.

Witi Ihaemara(SP?)'s short films in the eighties were brilliant. (not sure if other than writing them he actually had anything to do with them. I want to see Utu right though and have wanted to for over ten years.

I also enjoyed this film, though as a non-Kiwi who has never visited NZ, I was fuzzy on some of the background information. It seemed as if few people in the village depicted in the film had jobs. Are a lot of Maori people supported by the government? Do many of them live in villages like the one shown in the film, and are most of the people in those villages of Maori blood?

I also wondered how going back to the old ways was going to lead them to a brighter future. Is the future not bright for Maori people, then?

Please, forgive my ignorance. I can tell you quite a bit about the Navajo, Apache, and Hopi people who live in my home state, but don’t know much about the Maori culture.

Some night say the Maori are supported by the government too much. Due to the unemployment benefit…however there are special benefits the maori get. Actually you would be unlikely to meet a full blooded Maori these days.
The village where the movie was set was a small rural town in the East Coast of the north island and it is unlikely there are a whole lot of jobs there.

This is a small East Coast village. There’s no jobs there for anyone. Pretty much everybody would be on welfare. The main characters in this movie are involved in the local iwi (tribe) and marae (meeting house) organisation, and would undoubtedly get some government support for that too. But the majority of Maori these days, (probably like indigenous peoples in most places) live in the cities. Small East Coast villages likethis owuldbe predominantly Maori.

Well, the future’s not too bright in a similar way to indigenous peoples in other parts of the world. Maori are overrepresented in low socio-economic groups, prison etc. As to the question ‘how going back to the old ways was going to lead them to a better future’, that was one of the main themes of the movie really. That’s what the old chief/granddad wanted. The girl agreed, but was challenging a traditionalist (all-male) interpretation of this. I guess the key messaage of the film was that Maori culture can bring pride and purpose top a community and individuals within it, but that culture must change and adapt to modern times in order to achieve these goals.


i loved it too and my girlfriend cried so much it was embarrassing ( i might have got a little something stuck in the eye at some point or other but i stayed staunch)

I thought the movie was good, but not great. Of course, movies that show struggling minority communities are going to emphasize “getting in touch with and having pride in the traditional culture” as a solution. This was also the case in Once Were Warriors. Good minority = follows the traditional culture, Bad minority = turns back on the traditional culture.

Of course, exotic cultural elements make for more compelling viewing. A story about troubled youths who succeed by applying themselves at math and science, getting engineering degrees, and landing decent jobs, would be a rather dull.

I thought Whale Rider did a good job of showing the conflict between the old and new. It’s interesting that, even today, Maori culture restricts a woman (even when it is the Prime Minister) from speaking on a marae.

i stole the book from my english teacher before i watched the film, and i have to say that i think the movie is just as good if not better than the book. :slight_smile: (not to say the accent brings back memories ><)

i’d recommend the book to people - it’s short and easy - hour before bed kind of read

I just finished watching Whale Rider on DVD. Excellent movie. Tell your friends - this movie deserves to be seen.