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,

Whale with Moko - from Cover Art of The Whale Rider - artist Bruce Potter

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.

SpecFic Blogging Week – The Whale Rider
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4 thoughts on “SpecFic Blogging Week – The Whale Rider

  • September 18, 2010 at 2:37 am

    That’s a fantastic quote. It’s such a spark for all sorts of speculative ideas. 🙂

  • September 18, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    The rest of the quote was about whales, but I had to stop and read it again, it was such a lovely phrase.

  • June 22, 2011 at 2:13 am

    Hi there, I saw your review of Witi Ihimaera’s ‘The Whale Rider’ and wondered whether you might be interested in asking Witi Ihimaera a question about this book? BBC World Book Club on the World Service is interviewing him soon and would love to hear from you. If interested, please email me at as soon as you can with a question about the book (anything – doesn’t have to be particularly clever!), along with where you’re from/live. We can either arrange for you to talk to Witi Ihimaera himself, or have our presenter put your question to him for you. Then you will be able hear your question on BBC World Service Radio when it airs.
    Best wishes,
    BBC World Book Club

    • June 22, 2011 at 10:33 am

      Thanks Julie, will have a think on it and get back to you.


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