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Monthly Archives: November 2009

My class and I have recently watched a movie called Whale Rider, a movie based on a New Zealand tribe known as the Maori Tribe. A girl name Paikea is born in place where the boys and men take almost full control. Yet she resists these rules and tends to change them. Only boys are allowed to move up to being men and chiefs. Paikea having to deal with these rules are not enough, the family is falling apart. She has a grandfather (Koro) that never wanted her, but is forced to deal with it. Koro, the teacher of boys to be chiefs, excludes Paikea to learn, even though she wants to because of the fact that she is a girl. But she gets her way around it by learning from her uncle.

As the movies progresses toward the end the problems are resolved with some huge consequences.

This movie that we watched relates to a book we have read, called The Odyssey.  Paikea in the movie is just like Telemachus because they both are making a struggle to earn the trust of someone or something.

  • In both of the stories Paikea and Telemachus ‘s fathers weren’t in their life as much as they should. Paikea’s journey was not physical, but it was the journey to earning her grandfather’s trust and learn the way of a chief just as all other boys could be, but she is a girl therefore she kept on trying. Telemachus’s journey was physical and it was to look for his father, Odysseus, and earn the trust of the gods to help him look for his father.
  • Koro and Poseidon can be connected too. Koro was very hard on Paikea because she was a girl. Even though he had realized she can do the same as the boys and even better.  Poseidon made Odysseus’ journey back to home a living hell.
  • The Nanny and Penelope both had mother instincts. Even though Paikea ‘s mother died in labor, the nanny acted as her birth mother. Penelope was a good mother also.
  • Uncle Rawiri and Athena were like guardian angels to Paikea and Telemachus.  Uncle Rawiri taught Paikea some tricks on the taiaha. Athena was like protector for Telemachus during the journey finding his father.


When we first began to watch this movie, it came off as weird, but as the movie started to progress it became more interesting.  A girl changed her own Maori tribe tradition.  She is now chief and leader. She proved to her grandfather mind of her, proving she can do the same thing as the boys and even better. She is a true role model!


The Odyssey vs. Whale Rider

Upon first glance of both these works of art, meaning The Odyssey and Whale Rider, you may not see any correlations, but with further investigation and thought you may realize some huge similarities. Two of these are the parallels are in the characters and their personalities, such as the likenesses in Koro and Odysseus and with Paikea and Telemachus.

Odysseus and Koro, two men from completely different places and times, yet they still have so much in common. Both are born leaders and will never give up. One particular scene in Whale Rider helped me bridge the gap between it and The Odyssey. When Koro finally accepts Paikea for who she is, a girl, it is like when Odysseus and Telemachus finally met. Once Koro let go of tradition he realized she was the destined chief and he loved her more for it. Pride swelled in both Koro and Odysseus when these scenes actually took place.

For the past couple of months, we have been reading The Odyssey and we finished it off by watching a movie called Whale Rider. While viewing the movie, my partner and I realized Telemachus and Paikea were similar because they basically went through the same journey, emotionally, and they have matured and grown since the beginning. Telemachus was a weak, naive little boy in the beginning on The Odyssey but with the help of others, he became a man/leader. Paikea went through a similar journey. To others, she was only a “worthless” little girl because she was born a girl and boys were more superior. She improved herself by showing her strength and perseverance no matter how many times she was told ‘no’ by Koro, her grandfather.

SLA’s three essential questions—“Who am I?” “How do I interact with the environment?” “How does the environment affect me?”—are meant to apply to its students. These questions, however, have shown to apply to people from anywhere in the world—or any point in time.
A prince in Ancient Greece and a young girl in modern-day New Zealand may not seem on the surface to have anything in common. Yet SLA’s essential questions apply to them as well, and their stories tell how they come upon the answers.
The prince in Ancient Greece was the mighty Telemachus, who had to overcome his own weaknesses in order to save his family. He needed to become a man and rid his palace of suitors that ravaged his home and threatened his life. Modern-day New Zealand’s Paikea had to do something similar—she had to prove herself to be a strong and worthy leader of the Maori tribe, despite being a female in a tribe whose women led very limited lives.

Yet neither of them completed their journey alone. Telemachus was guided by the goddess Athena, who pitied him and his father Odysseus. For Paikea, the journey to adulthood was assisted by a whale, which was both her guiding spirit and a symbol of the Maori tribe’s ancestor, also named Paikea, who according to legend rode to New Zealand on a whale.
At the end of their journeys, Telemachus and Paikea prove to everyone around them that they could be who they wanted to be and excel at what they were destined to do.

At SLA, we are discovering The Odyssey and Whale Rider, and the adventure that connects both book and film.  The Odyssey is similar to Whale Rider because Telemachus and Paikea struggled to stand up for themselves in their communities. Telemachus fought to become a man while Paikea seeks to become her tribe’s chief even though women cannot hold that role.  Both characters were on a adventure to find information. Telemachus ventured to find information about his father and Paikea tried so hard to please her grandfather to show him that she can become a leader.  Telemachus and Paikea faced many challenges on their journeys.  Without having a father in their lives for guidance, both characters had to rely on themselves and others for inspiration. Telemachus grew stronger with the help of Athena while Paikea grew stronger through the help of her Uncle Rawiri and her Nanny. By the end of the text and the end of the film both characters fulfilled their goals and became new people.

This connects to the 9th grade essential questions about identity in certain ways.  There are always going to be challenges that we will face, but we have to keep our heads up and be strong, just like Telemachus and Paikea.  In order to create a true sense of yourself, you need to be yourself and follow your instincts, just like Paikea did when she knew that her higher purpose was to be a chief. Telemachus had to take the role of man of the house and protect his palace from the suitors.  He also needs to take the lead and make the switch from boyhood to manhood.

The Odyssey is much like Whale Rider. While both stories are set indifferent times and different places they have common themes. Such as standing up for your self, religion, and growing up to protect something you love.

Both stories are about finding your way in a world of people who are pushing you down. Pikea is the young girl in Whale Rider, she is constantly held back from her fate by her grandfather and her tribe’s beliefs. Telemachus is tussled by the suitors who are trying to wed his mother he try’s to speak his mind but the suitors see him as a little kid who can not do anything. Odysseus is lost and trying to find home but The god Poseidon keeps knocking him down and pulling him away from his goal of coming home.

The gods are a huge part of religion. In The Odyssey the gods are part of every ones day-to-day life, Gods like Athena the goddess of war who gives courage to those who need it. Athena goes to Telemachus and gives him the courage and the plan to get off of his bum and find his father and do something with his life. In Whale Rider the gods were more referred to as the ancestors. They were looked at like they were gods because they started the civilization. The whales were much like the messengers of the gods if the people of the Maori tribe needed help they could call on the gods and they would come. Pikea is often called upon by the whales, when she thinks she sees them she makes the right choice for herself and the wrong choice for being a good little girl.

Pikea loves her tribe and her family. Near the end of the story she climbs onto a whale and rides it out to sea nearly killing herself in the process to save the whales who are her gods. Telemachus who finds his father goes back to his castle and battles the suitors an impossible battle is fought and won by Telemachus and his father they risk their lives for their palace, their people and the ones they love.

In each story the characters grow and become adults even if they are adults in the physical sense they realize that they need to change there thought process to really see the world and become strong.

The Odyssey, an epic poem, written by Homer is about a man who has faced many problems on his journey to his homeland. Odysseus has fought in the Trojan War, taken the sight of a Cyclopes, lost many good friends, and has angered a god called Poseidon. His son Telemachus has not seen his father but is told by a goddess to find information on his father, who is believed to be dead. On this long journey many kings of far away kingdoms help Telemachus. He is over joy that his father is alive and well. Together they plotted to kill the suitors that have plagued his palace and eaten their food. Successfully they kill them and Penelope relieved that her husband is alive and well. The story shows how Telemachus had completed the transition between childhood and adulthood. This is only but one reason that The Odyssey relates to Whale Rider.


The Whale Rider was a movie about a legend. The legend says that the Maori ancestor Paikea had come from Hawaiki then came to New Zealand. During this journey he had rode a taniwha (whale), although before this legend was established, Paikea was referred to as the god of sea monsters.  He is used to symbolize the great endurance that have token the challenge to cross the stormy seas. In the movie the granddaughter of the chief of the Maori, Koro, was displeased to hear from his son that the next in line for chief was a girl.  He also did not like the fact that she was named after the great whale rider. Paikea, learned from her grandmother, Nanny that the woman can also play a stronger role in the tribe. She believed it was her destiny to become the new chief, even though the tribe believed in the old ways and could not allow this to happen. In the end Paikea showed her courage and became the new chief.


In both of these stories, it shows the transition from childhood to adulthood. Telemachus and Paikea fought against all odds and against people’s wishes to pursue their dreams. They defied their elder’s wishes and chose there own paths to do what they thought was right. All in all they proved to everyone that they can do anything they set their minds to. One relationship between the two is that Paikea’s Uncle Rawiri had taught her how to use the taiaha. (fighting stick). He is somewhat the same as the kings that Telemachus had meet on his journey. They both receive the information that they need to achieve their dreams. Whether it be finding your father, or defying tradition.  After all the their hardship’s their trouble is rewarded when they found what they were looking for.  Paikea is able to become chief after learning the ways and believing that the song of the way was guiding her. Much to how Telemachus was able to find his father with Athena guiding his way.

For the past few weeks our English class and we have been reading Homer’s The Odyssey. After reading and acting out many of the books in this epic poem we concluded our studies with a viewing of Whale Ride. The Odyssey and Whale Rider both present a journey in which a youth goes through in the hope of finding his/herself. In The Odyssey we see Telemachus completing the transition from boy to man. In Whale Rider Paikea fights to prove to her community, and most of all her Grandfather, that she can be a leader. The thing that these two journeys have in common, is that they answer the essential question of ‘Who am I?’

Telemachus of The Odyssey is bullied by his Mother’s suitors. They aim to kill him, and ‘rid themselves of a pest’. Athena guides him on a quest to find more about his lost Father, Odysseus. Throughout his journey Telemachus experiences self doubt but later gains the courage to stand up for himself and gain back his fathers palace. On this journey Telemachus learns a lot about himself and truly becomes a man.

In Whale Rider, Paikea looses two people during her birth, her mother, and twin brother. Her Grandfather refuses to acknowledge her existence at first, but grows close to her. Paikea is suddenly shunned by her Grandfather, Koro, when she breaks her cultures rules by learning the fighting art only men are permitted to use. She fights the traditions and proves herself a leader.

Both journeys, a child matures, and takes on a role that no one thought they could achieve. Telemachus and Paikea are worthy of their positions, Telemachus the Prince, Paikea the leader. They  proved themselves to others, and to themselves.

There are many similarities between The Odyssey  and Whale Rider.   Paikea and Telemachus are similar because both of their fathers were not there during their childhood but they both still became very successful.   Koro is like Poseidon because Koro is Paikea’s granfather and Poseidon is Telemchus’s grandfather.   Porourangi (Pi’s father) and Penelope (Telemachus’s mother) are alike because both of the parents were not close to their child.   Athena and Uncle Rawiri are alike because Athena helped Telemachus on his journey and Uncle Rawiri helped Paikea become a chief and also helped her out through her journey.   Nanna and Odysseus are similar because Odysseus helped his son Telemachus around the end of the epic by killing the suitors and the Nanna helped Paikea by showing her some tricks with the taiaha (spear).

Whale Rider and The Odyssey helped me better understand our school’s 9th grade essential questions.   Questions such as Who am I? How do I interact with the environment? How does the environment affect me? By watching whale rider and reading The Odyssey, I learned about other cultures besides my own and how things were and are different all over the world.   In both Whale Rider and The Odyssey there is both an element of lost and found.   Many of us have felt this in different ways, but our feelings differ.   The way Paikia felt when her father was gone, and the way Telemachus felt when his father left are also very different.   He struggles to find the truth about his father but wouldn’t stop until he did.   He felt very little confidence and showed lack of strength.   Paikea felt lost in her world.   At times she felt very saddened because her grandpa looked down upon her for being a girl and not the male prophet that he wanted.   Although his feelings changed for her, Paikea’s feelings for herself didn’t change.   This is one way that her and Telemechus differ.   He let other people influence him and change his opinion of himself.

In the movie Whale Rider there are similarities to the story The Odyssey. Some of them are that the characters have similar characteristics, and there is a similar back rounds stories.

In the movie there is a young girl named, Paikea in The Whale Rider. She is similar to a character Telemachus in The Odyssey. We think this because they both are weak and scared in the beginning and then they become strong and they proved themselves in the end. Another pair of characters that are similar is the Nanny in the movie and Penelope in The Odyssey. They both are strong women and they stand up for what they think is right in the end.

In the Odyssey the story is about a man who when to the war and fought for ten years and his son was left at home. When his son, Telemachus grow up he decided to go and search for him father. In the movie the Whale Rider a child was born and her mother had died. These children grew up with out a mother and a grandfather that had always wished for a male, instead of a female. She always felt unwanted but in the end she had proved herself to everyone in the tribe.

The Odyssey and Whale Rider both have good and bad characters. All of the characters in the movie and book have strong characteristics. In the book The Odyssey the women can be very strong and very weak at times.  In Whale Rider Paikea was strong when it came to fulfilling her role in being a chief. She was weak at times though, like when Coro didn’t want her to train with the boys she was getting ready to break down in front of the boys.  In the book the Odyssey, the protagonist, Odysseus, fights again all the pressure of getting home.  He is getting ready to break down after Poseidon keeps trying to kill him.  Those are the similarities between the Odyssey and Whale Rider.

The Odyssey and Whale Rider had many differences.  One of them is that The Odyssey had more action and fighting in it then Whale Rider. Another difference between them is that in Whale Rider had more to do with the sea. One more difference between them is that in The Odyssey and Whale Rider at the end the problem in each story is solved differently. In The Odyssey the problem is solved when Odysseus kills the suitors. In Whale Rider the problem is solved after Coro realizes finally that Paikea is the next chief. Those are the differences between The Odyssey and Whale Rider.