Whale Rider Essay

885 Words Apr 28th, 2012 4 Pages
Movie analysis
The Whale Rider
Together with Yavaraj Athur Raghuvir I watched the movie called The Whale Rider which deals with the issue of cultural restrains both as an individual and as a society.
The story takes place in New Zealand where the Maori people of a small village claim descent from the Whale Rider, Paikea. By tradition the heir to the leadership of the Maori tribe has to be the first born son- a direct patrilineal descendant of Paikea. The Maori people faces a crisis as the current leader’s firstborn grandchild, a baby boy dies at birth while the second born twin, a baby girl survives. The girl grows up being certain of her calling to be the next tribe leader.
Pai: 12 year old girl who is the only living
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Hemi’s father hangs out with other guys that identify with a “different culture”; he dresses differently, acts like a “macho”, his “buddy” drives a fast car and they seem to act very “American”. Both are signs of internalized oppression.

As the leader of the Maori culture traditionally is male this gender can be seen as “norm” hence giving them privileges. However, the boys do not seem to “take advantage” of their privileges, as they do not take the practice for learning strength, courage and fortitude seriously. Also, the boys do not mind/act when Pai takes a seat in the front row at the Marae.
Koro on the other hand uses his privilege as being “norm” and chief to mistreat Pai; calling her useless, enforcing her to obey cultural rules and generally not believing in her capabilities.

Pai is “fighting” against the cultural restrain of being female and therefore technically unable to inherit the leadership.
Pai remains steadfast in the belief that her people need her. She is interested in the leadership and she learns/practices all traditionally acts (some secretly) to prove herself to Koro and the community. She faces even more oppression from Koro for every time she resists the cultural restrains put on her.
Pai is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the whales.


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