Home / Lesson Plans / Whale Rider – Curriculum Guide (New Zealand)


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A small Maori village faces a crisis when the heir to the leadership of the Ngati Konohi dies at birth and is survived only by his twin sister, Pai (Academy Award® nominee* Keisha Castle-Hughes). Although disregarded by her grandfather and shunned by the people of her village, twelve-year-old Pai remains certain of her calling and trains herself in the ways and customs of her people. With remarkable grace and courage, Pai summons the strength to both challenge and embrace a thousand years of tradition in order to fulfill her destiny.


Lesson 1: Who are the Maori (Social Studies)
Lesson 2: Viewing Whale Rider (Media Literacy)
Lesson 3: The World Outside,The Spirit Within (Social Studies)
Lesson 4: Maori Roles and Relationships (Language Arts / Visual Literacy)
Lesson 5: Insights Into Maori Culture (Film Specific Cross Cultural Understanding)
Lesson 6: Culture and Gender (General Cross-Cultural Understanding)
Lesson 8: Special Effects and Music (Media Literacy)
Lesson 9: Echolocation (Science)
Lesson 10: Counting the Uncountable (Mathematics)
Lesson 11: Markings of the Maori (Visual Arts)


Whale Rider - Curriculum Guide (New Zealand)