Whale Rider

A Māori village faces a crisis when the heir to the chiefdom dies at birth and is survived only by his twin sister Pai. Disregarded by her grandfather, 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, she summons the strength to challenge and embrace a thousand years of tradition in order to fulfill her destiny.


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Product Description

Film runtime: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Film rating: PG-13. Common Sense Media rates this film as appropriate for ages 10+.

Video Librarian also has a review available for this film.

Resources available for Grades 6-9.

Whale Rider Curriculum Guide

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 7: Special Effects and Music (Media Literacy)
Lesson 8: Echolocation (Science)
Lesson 9: Counting the Uncountable (Mathematics)
Lesson 10: Markings of the Maori (Visual Arts)

Preview Curriculum Guide

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Related Resources

Aditionally, lead actress Keisha Castle-Hughes of Whale Rider was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in the film. Learn more about teaching with the Oscar nominated and award-winning films in our library.

Sustainable Development Goals

Journeys in Film supports the Sustainable Development Goals.

This curriculum guide connects to the following United Nations SDGs. Learn more about teaching with SDGs: https://en.unesco.org/themes/education/sdgs/material.

Red orange background. Number five upper left hand corner. Gender Equality, white, beside the number. Main image on the orange background is a symbol that combines the man symbol and woman symbol with equal marks inside the circle part of the symbol. Blue background with a white 14 in the upper left hand corner. Text beside it reads: Life Below Water. There are two white wave lines below the text and a large white fish below that.


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