Eight-year-old Kahu craves her great-grandfather’s love and attention. But he is focused on his duties as chief of a Maori tribe in Whangara, on the East Coast of New Zealand — a tribe that claims descent from the legendary ‘whale rider’. In every generation since the whale rider, a male has inherited the title of chief. But now there is no male heir — there’s only Kahu. She should be next in line for the title, but her great-grandfather is blinded by tradition and sees no use for a girl.
Kahu will not be ignored. And in her struggle she has a unique ally: the whale rider himself, from whom she has inherited the ability to communicate with whales. Once that sacred gift is revealed, Kahu may be able to re-establish her people’s ancestral connections, earn her great-grandfather’s attention — and lead her tribe to a bold new future.
The 20th anniversary edition includes Author’s Notes.
The cover features Te Ihi o Tangaroa (Monarch of the Sea) (2004) by Maori artist Roi Toia.
Witi Ihimaera was born in Gisborne, New Zealand, of Maori descent. He began his writing career with Pounamu Pounamu (short stories) in 1972, and became the first Maori novelist with Tangi in 1973. Since then he has written eleven novels, including The Matriarch (1984), Bulibasha, King of Gypsies (1995), and The Uncle’s Story (2002). His children’s novel, The Whale Rider (1988), was made into a successful international film, which won the Toronto film Festival People’s Choice Award in 2002.
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