Author(s): Witi Ihimaera
Eight-year-old Kahu craves her great-grandfather's love and attention. But he's focused on his duties as leader of a tribe that claims descent from the legendary 'whale rider'. In every generation since the whale rider, a male has inherited the title of chief. But now there is no male heir - only Kahu. Her great-grandfather is blinded by tradition and sees no use for a girl. But Kahu will not be ignored. In her struggle she has a unique ally: the whale rider himself. First published 1987.
Witi Ihimaera was a pioneer of Maori writing in English: his short-story collection Pounamu Pounamu (1972) was followed by Tangi (1973), the first novel by a Maori. A hard-working writer and editor, he has written novels, short-story collections, children's books, plays and numerous anthologies. He has won many book awards, and his 1987 novel The Whale Rider was made into an internationally successful film. His latest novel is The Trowenna Sea (Penguin, 2009).