"The Whale Rider" by Witi Ihimaera.

Essay by BibsyCollege, Undergraduate April 2003

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The Whale Rider - Witi Ihimaera

In the old days, the land and sea with its forests and animals felt a great emptiness, a yearning. They were waiting for the seeding, for the gifting, for the blessing to come.

Suddenly, one day the first of the Ancients were coming in their canoes from their island kingdom beyond the horizon - Hawaiki. After a while, they returned to the east. The land and sea were relieved - they had been found. They still had to wait for a long time until the news was taken back to the place of the Ancients. Then, one day, the first sighting was made: something was coming through the water and suddenly, the sea was filled with awesome singing and the song said: You have called and I have come, bearing the gift of the Gods. One flying saw the singer - it was a whale.

Everybody quickly realized that the time of the blessing had come, because the sacred sign was on the whale, a swirling moko pattern imprinted on the forehead. Then, the flying fish saw something on the back of the whale. It was a man - the whale rider. The whale rose higher out of the sea and the man felt its power. He began to fling small spears of mauri seaward and landward. Some mauri turned into pigeons, others into eels. Then, land and sea opened themselves to the gift they had been waiting for for so long: tangata, man. With great thanksgiving, the man cried out to the land:

Karanga mai, karanga mai, karanga mai.

But there was one mauri which refused to leave the whale rider's hands. So the whale rider said: Let this mauri be the one to flower when the people are troubled and it is...