Whale Rider Movie Analysis

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“A long time ago, my ancestor Paikea came to this place on the back of a whale. Since then, in every generation of my family, the first born son has carried his name and become the leader of our tribe... until now” (Caro & Sanders, 2003). Whale Rider is the story of a girl, Pai, whose twin brother and mother die in child birth. Koro, Pai’s grandfather and leader of the Maori tribe, is devastated that their future leader has died. Years later Koro is determined to find a leader and begins to teach and train the boys, in which Pai is not allowed to join because she is a girl. In a final test Koro throws a sacred whale tooth in the ocean but the boys cannot retrieve it. Later, Pai dives for the tooth and is successful, proving her right as leader. As an answer to Koro’s desperate prayers, the ancient whales beach themselves nearby. The village tries to help but nothing works. Pai, who climbs on the whale, coaxes it back into the ocean and Koro finally acknowledges Pai’s right as the next tribal leader.
Three themes observed in this movie are collectivistic orientation, hierarchical relationships, and Acculturation. Collectivist orientation is the idea that the “psychosocial unit of identity resides in the family, group, or collective society” (Sue & Sue, 2016, p. 751). This is presented in the role that Pai is put in. Pai, because of her grandfathers strong traditional beliefs, is not considered for the role of chief because she is a girl. Pai is not to question her
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