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TITLE: Whale Rider
AUTHOR: Witi Ihimaera
DATE: True first edition 1987
PUBLISHER: Heinemann
TYPE: hardback with jacket

The true first edition of a very collectible and important New Zealand novel.

From the time of her birth, Kahu is destined to become the leader of her tribe in the East Coast village of Whangara. But her grandfather, Koro Apirana, is caught up with the problems facing the tribe. He refuses to accept that a girl could take over from him as chief. Then a pod of whales beach themselves at Whangara. Kahu has to act if she is to save them and her people.

He was wondrous to look upon, the whale rider. The water streamed away from him and he opened his mouth to gasp in the cold air. His eyes were shining with splendour. His body dazzled with diamond spray. Upon that beast he looked like a small tattooed figurine, glistening and erect. He seemed, with all his strength, to be pulling the whale out of the sky.

The whale rider was Kahutia Te Rangi. Ancestor of the people of Te Tai Rawhiti, he travelled from Hawaiki, the place of the Ancients, to the East Coast of New Zealand. Then there was Kahu. The first great-grandchild of the whanau, she was loved by all her relatives except the one whose love she needed most - her great-grandfather.

This timeless story tells how the courage of one girl in standing against the tide of tradition enables her tribe to become reconnected with their ancestral life force. Since publication in 1987, The Whale Rider has become one of Witi Ihimaera's best-loved stories, capturing readers with its universal themes of conflict between generations and genders, respect for nature, family love and personal courage. Now the movie adaptation, Whale Rider, is bringing the story to an international audience.

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  • Seller location: Wellington City, Wellington, NZ

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