I had the chance to meet Witi Ihimaera, author of The Whale Rider, in Auckland in October 2014, and also attended a writing workshop led by him. In the workshop, Ihimaera talked about reshaping myths for a contemporary audience, and how that can be used to draw parallels and tell powerful stories like The Whale Rider. The fact that I met the author of one of the pieces I would probably be writing about in my final IB Language & Literature exam is simply mind-blowing, and provided so much more context and insights on this wonderful book.
The video below is based on Chapter One of the novel, about the ancient story of the origin of the Māori people. The text of The Whale Rider is quite rich visually, and I chose specific elements from the chapter that highlight this.
Original art by Chau Pham.
Original text by Witi Ihimaera.
Music recorded during a walk through the Waipoua Forest, Northland, New Zealand. Many thanks to our amazing tour guides who led us through the magnificent giant kāuri trees and shared many aspects of Māori culture with us.
[vimeo 112602110 w=1000 h=562]