Most NZ’ers have probably seen the movie, yet have you read the book? My son came home from school with the picture book version of The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera,
and I have to say that the illustrations by Bruce Potter are magical.
Anyway, as most stories go, this one does differ from the movie. While there is some element of supernatural to the movie, the book defines it even more. There was one passage in particular that I loved, and had to share.
Koro Apirana has found a whale stranded on the beach at Whangara and he has called all of the people together. This is the speech he made to them.
” ‘Once the world was a place where man, beasts and gods lived closely with one another,’ he told the villagers that night. ‘Then man became arrogant and set himself above all others. He divided the world into that half he could believe in and that half he could not believe in. He divided the world between the real and unreal, the natural and the supernatural, the scientific and the fantastic, the present and the past…’ “
Why did it strike me? What was it about these words that made me pause and read them again? It was just so beautifully put. And yes, man has divided his world into segments, broken it into pieces and stopped believing like he used to in a higher power and all that goes on around us. Funnily enough, Koro Apirana couldn’t see that he himself was dividing up his own community rather than uniting it.
If you haven’t seen the movie Whale Rider, I would highly recommend that p
erhaps you read the book. It would appear that the book has more details about the supernatural nature of the movie, whereas the movie tended to gloss over this. I think the book tells more of the spiritualness of the Maori.
And I can recommend the children’s version even more.