Whale Rider

Whale Rider (2003)

In the ways of the ancients she found a hope for the future.

  • Genre: Drama, Family
  • Release Date: 2003-01-30
  • User Rating: 7.1/10 from 354 ratings
  • Runtime: 1h 41min
  • Language: English
  • Production Company: South Pacific Pictures
  • Production Country: Germany, New Zealand
  • Director: Niki Caro
star 7.1/10
From 354 Ratings


On the east coast of New Zealand, the Whangara people believe their presence there dates back a thousand years or more to a single ancestor, Paikea, who escaped death when his canoe capsized by riding to shore on the back of a whale. From then on, Whangara chiefs, always the first-born, always male, have been considered Paikea's direct descendants. Pai, an 11-year-old girl in a patriarchal New Zealand tribe, believes she is destined to be the new chief. But her grandfather Koro is bound by tradition to pick a male leader. Pai loves Koro more than anyone in the world, but she must fight him and a thousand years of tradition to fulfill her destiny.

Whale Rider Trailer

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  • Keisha Castle-Hughes

    as Paikea Apirana
  • Rawiri Paratene

    as Koro
  • Vicky Haughton

    as Nanny Flowers
  • Cliff Curtis

    as Porourangi
  • Grant Roa

    as Uncle Rawiri
  • Mana Taumaunu

    as Hemi
  • Rachel House

    as Shilo
  • Taungaroa Emile

    as Willie
  • Tammy Davis

    as Dog
  • Mabel Wharekawa

    as Maka
  • Rawinia Clarke

    as Miro
  • Tahei Simpson

    as Miss Parata
  • Roi Taimana

    as Hemi's Dad
Sound Lisa Gerrard Original Music Composer
Writing Niki Caro Screenplay
Directing Niki Caro Director
Writing Witi Ihimaera Author
Production John Barnett Producer
Camera Leon Narbey Director of Photography
Editing David Coulson Editor
Production Tim Sanders Producer
Production Frank Hübner Producer