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Whale Rider (2002)

PG-13 | | Drama, Family | 29 August 2003 (USA)
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A contemporary story of love, rejection and triumph as a young Maori girl fights to fulfill a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize.

Director:

Niki Caro

Writers:

Niki Caro, Witi Ihimaera (book)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 33 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Keisha Castle-Hughes ... Paikea
Rawiri Paratene ... Koro
Vicky Haughton ... Nanny Flowers
Cliff Curtis ... Porourangi
Grant Roa ... Uncle Rawiri
Mana Taumaunu Mana Taumaunu ... Hemi
Rachel House ... Shilo
Taungaroa Emile ... Willie
Tammy Davis Tammy Davis ... Dog
Mabel Wharekawa Mabel Wharekawa ... Maka (as Mabel Wharekawa-Burt)
Rawinia Clarke Rawinia Clarke ... Miro
Tahei Simpson Tahei Simpson ... Miss Parata
Roi Taimana Roi Taimana ... Hemi's Dad (as Roimata Taimana)
Elizabeth Skeen Elizabeth Skeen ... Rehua
Tyronne White Tyronne White ... Jake (as Tyrone White)
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Storyline

On the east coast of New Zealand, the Whangara people believe their presence there dates back a thousand years or more to a single ancestor, Paikea, who escaped death when his canoe capsized by riding to shore on the back of a whale. From then on, Whangara chiefs, always the first-born, always male, have been considered Paikea's direct descendants. Pai, an 11-year-old girl in a patriarchal New Zealand tribe, believes she is destined to be the new chief. But her grandfather Koro is bound by tradition to pick a male leader. Pai loves Koro more than anyone in the world, but she must fight him and a thousand years of tradition to fulfill her destiny. Written by berkeley

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

One young girl dared to confront the past, change the present and determine the future See more »

Genres:

Drama | Family

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief language and a momentary drug reference | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

New Zealand | Germany

Language:

English | Maori

Release Date:

29 August 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jinete de ballenas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$137,418, 8 June 2003

Gross USA:

$20,779,666

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$41,062,976
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At her audition, Keisha Castle-Hughes' told casting directors that she could swim. When it came time to film the swimming scenes, she admitted she couldn't swim. Waio Parata-Haua, Kiesha's stunt double, did most of her swimming scenes. See more »

Goofs

When the girl has been crying and her father is comforting her on the boat, he wipes the tears from her face. In some shots, you can see where he wiped the tear. In other shots, a tear that has tricked down to her chin. In some other shots, she has a tear that hasn't traveled so far. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Paikea: In the old days, the land felt a great emptiness. It was waiting. Waiting to be filled up. Waiting for someone to love it. Waiting for a leader.
[child birth scene]
Paikea: And he came on the back of a whale. A man to lead a new people. Our ancestor, Paikea. But now we were waiting for the firstborn of the new generation, for the descendant of the whale rider. For the boy who would be chief.
Paikea: There was no gladness when I was born. My twin brother died, and took our mother with him.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Made by New Zealand See more »


Soundtracks

Journey Away
Music Composed By, Arranged By Lisa Gerrard
Copyright owned by 4AD LTD Under License from South Pacific Pictures LTD.
© (P) 2003 4AD LTD
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Small girl with the heart of a whale
24 July 2003 | by Fong_Chun_KinSee all my reviews

Slow pace but never boring. Small girl 'Paikea' touches your heart with her quiet strength and determination. Time and again, she faces prejudice from her grandfather whom she never gives up loving. Her grandpa loves her too, but tradition and the single-mindedness that Paikea will never be the leader of their tribe forces him to refrain from showing his true emotions towards his only granddaughter. But young Paikea never gives up; she respects grandpa's decision and masks her desire to become the whale rider of her tribe.

The remarkably beautiful and serene scenery of New Zealand complements the eventual inner peace that Paikea achieves. To save the whales their tribe loves so much, she shows remarkable calmness in guiding the whales back into sea despite death staring her straight in the face.

An inspiring and well-executed film.


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