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. Directed and written by Niki Caro, the film 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 became one of the most successful New Zealand films released internationally, and won audience choice awards at Sundance and Toronto.
Available on DVD from South Pacific Pictures
Available to buy and rent from NZ Film On Demand
World premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, on 9 September 2002