Paikea’s Determination to Become the Chief
Whale Rider by Niki Caro is a story about a 12 year old girl who is the true heir to be chief of the tribe but her grandfather, following Maori traditions, believes that the role of chief is to be the first born son of the chief only. Throughout the movie, Paikea is determined to prove that she is the true heir and can be the chief of the tribe. This movie shows how she struggles to get her grandfather’s approval due to his beliefs and the tribe’s tradition which dates back to ancient times. By the end of the story he realizes that Pai is the one and only heir to be chief of the tribe. Throughout the story Paikea must prove to her grandfather that she has courage, determination, and that she has the ability to lead the people of the tribe.
Pai cares about her tribe, their culture, and their traditions. Although she is only twelve years old, Pai shows leadership abilities and she is always right by her grandfather’s side. She wants to learn the traditions, so if her dreams of becoming the chief work out, she can pass them on to the rest of the tribe and be a good leader. Paikea is trying to show that she is a strong, courageous girl and she can be a good chief. One side of her wants to prove to her grandfather she can be chief and she wants him to love her even though she is a girl, and the other half wants to prove that a girl can be just as good of a leader as a boy. Paikea shows courage because even though her grandfather has his disbeliefs in her and being the chief, she does whatever it takes to prove to him that she was just as good as any boy in the tribe. Paikea is very determined to learn the ways of her people. She looks through the windows and into the classroom where her grandfather is teaching the boys how to fight since she is not allowed to participate and learn with them. She asks her uncle to teach her how fight like the boys, and soon she becomes very good at fighting and can say some chants...
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