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Koro, who is the Chief of the Maori tribe, is the other important character of the film.
From the beginning, Paikea, or Pai, is a young girl in a man’s world.
Though she is loved by her grandfather named Koro, who is the Chief of the Maori tribe, she is not accepted as a future leader, and as a person as well.
The story takes place in the small town Whangara in New Zealand.
Many centuries ago a legendary ancestor named Paikea brought there the Maori people, who still lives there.
Koro’s eyes, mirrored in these events, portray a great sadness to the film’s audience.
The characters and relationships are rather complex and intricate, they are developing through the film, and the audience makes a “journey” through heroe’s lives.“Whale Rider” is a drama film of the 2002, based on the novel of Witi Ihimaera, and directed by Niki Caro.The world première was on September 2002, at the Toronto International Film Festival.The film gained much respect from critics, it went on in film festivals such as Sundance and Tribecca, and gained international recognition.It has a lot of awards through the world: BAFTA Childrens’ Award, Best Feature Film – 2003; Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, Best Young Actor/Actress (Keisha Castle-Hughes) – 2004; Chicago Film Critics Association Award, Most Promising Performer (Keisha Castle-Hughes) – 2004; Cinemanila International Film Festival, Special Jury Prize – 2003; Humanitas Prize, Sundance Film Category – 2003; Independent Spirit Award, Best Foreign Film (New Zealand) – 2004; Mexico City International Contemporary Film Festival and others.The myth about Paikea says that he was rescued by a whale, after his canoe was lost in the sea.He rode the whale and founded the Maori people, and from that day the tradition exists: an eldest son is the Chief of the tribe and the leader.So the focus of the eye humanizes the whale and connects the young girl to the animal.As Pai grows older, her defiant character of a leader becomes evident.Pai herself is interested in the leadership, learning traditional songs and dances, and Taiaha fighting – a traditional stick fighting method used by the Maori men.Pai feels, that she can become the leader, but it is impossible for a woman to do so, and she is given little encouragement by her grandfather.