Film: Whale Rider
The 2002 film Whale Rider, directed by Niki Caro, is an adaptation of Witi Ihimaera's 1987 novel The Whale Rider, itself based on the Māori legend of Paikea, or Kahutia Te Rangi, who rode from the ancestral home of Hawaiki to New Zealand's East Coast on the back of a whale. The tribe founded by Paikea has always been led by the previous chief's firstborn son, in a line of descent stretching back to the whale rider himself. However, in the late 20th century, a daughter, Paikea Apirana "Pai", is born, and the death of her mother makes her the only child in the line of succession. The story follows her as she challenges the traditions of her people and struggles for recognition and acceptance.
Contains examples of:
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Koro and Nanny.
- Badass Grandpa: Koro Apirana. Subverted towards the end when he is unable to save the beached whales.
- Coming-of-Age Story: The film more than the book.
- Death by Childbirth: Rehua.
- Demoted to Extra: Rawiri in the film.
- Embarrassing Slide: When Pai's father does a slide show to tell the family about what he's been doing in Europe, a problem with a projector results in the show suddenly skipping to the last slide, which he'd been planning to lead up to gradually: a photo of him with his new girlfriend. Especially embarrassing because his parents invited an unattached local woman to the slide show in the hope that she and he would hit it off.
- First-Person Peripheral Narrator: In the book, Uncle Rawari is the first person narrator who tells the story of Paikea Apirana.
- Girl of the Week: Rawiri's many interchangeable girlfriends in the book. In the film he seems to be in a steady relationship with Shilo.
- Grumpy Old Man: Koro Apirana.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Koro Apirana.
- Nature Spirit: The whale.
- Never Mess with Granny: Nanny Flowers.
- Once Upon a Time: 'In the old days, in the years that have gone before us...'.
- Tsundere: Nanny Flowers.