Whale Rider

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It is set in a small New Zealand coastal village where Maori claim descent from Paikea, the Whale Rider. In every generation, a male heir has succeeded to the chiefly title.
The Chief's eldest son, Porourangi, fathers twins - a boy and a girl - but the boy and his mother die tragically in childbirth. The surviving girl is name Pai. Grief-stricken, her father leaves her to be raised by her grandparents, Koro and Flowers. Koro, the Chief, refuses to acknowledge Pai as the heir.

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    101 min


Set at the East Coast town of Whāngārā, Whale Rider tells the tale of a young Māori girl, Pai (Keisha Castle-Hughes), who challenges tradition and embraces the past in order to find the strength to lead her people forward. Niki Caro's second feature is based on Witi Ihimaera's novel The Whale Rider. Coupling a specific sense of place and culture with a universal coming-of-age story, Whale Rider met with sizeable success worldwide, winning audience choice awards at Sundance and Toronto and its young star was nominated for an Academy Award

Technical Info: 
Colour, 35mm, Dolby Digital
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Production Company: 
South Pacific Films, Apollomedia, Pandora Films
2002 Toronto - People's Choice Award, 2003 Sundance Film Festival - Audience Choice Award, 2003 Rotterdam International Film Festival - Canal Plus Award

Key Roles


Key Cast

Nanny Flowers: 
Uncle Rawiri: 

Key Crew

Director of Photography: