The destiny of the new whale rider, Kahu,begins in her early childhood. She was born then raised in Whangara, NewZealand after her mother died giving birth to her. She is then named Kahu, thedescendant of the original whale rider, Kahutia Te Rangi. However, hergrandfather, Koro, refused to bury her birth cord accordingly to the Maoritradition because she is born to be a girl rather than a boy. Koro was stubbornand pre-occupied by the Maori’s culture tradition that only male successorpossesses the sacred power to communicate with nature and could lead the herdof whales from ancestors.
He hatred her and began teaching Maori language andculture in Maori community to find a male successor to lead the tribe in thefuture.Kahu’s destiny did not just end becauseKoro was disappointed and did not teach her anything inherited from theirancestors, including the chant to communicate with whales, and the taiaha, anancient weapon of war. Even without learning all these cultures from Koro, sheis still the designated whale rider as all these things are innately bond inher blood. She found herself being able to communicate to sea creature and leadthem through one incident. It was once Koro led his star pupils out to the seaand tested their endurance and strength to lead by picking up the whale toothnecklaceTTK1 he threw into the deepsea as he was so eager to find out a male can inherit his position. None ofthem could return successfully with the necklace, while she is the only one couldretrieve the necklace easily through the aid of dolphins and other seacreatures. Her grandmother, Nany Flowers was shocked when she saw Kahu coulddive in underwater freely and communicate with dolphins, but she chose not totell Koro yet as she thought Koro did not accept her as a leader yetIndeed, Koro refused to admit andrecognize her sacred power, but he changed his mind until there was one horribleevent occurred. Kahu was eight years oldwhen one night, in the midst of a severe storm, two hundred of Paikea’s whales,beaches themselves alone in Whangara.
Despite the effort of Kahu’s uncle,Rawiri and his biker gang trying to lead them back to the sea, they failed andthere were several whales died. The next day, another shocking event happened.The bull whale with an ancient sacred Maori tattoo on his head did the samething as the whales before. He is nostalgic for the days of his youth and thebond he had had with Kahutia Te Rangi and distressed over the changes to theworld, especially the cruelty and disregard of human beings to all the whalescame and stranded himself on the beach waiting to die. All whales refusedreturn to sea despite the efforts Koro had done as there is no whale rider tolead them back to sea. He told Riwari to tell Nany Flowers that it is the timefor women to act as men. Nany told Kahu to stay at the beach, but she swamtowards the whale in the middle of storm because Koro once said to her, “Ifthey live, we live”. She eventually led the herd of whales back into the sea,as the ancient holy bull whale could her voice and mistaken her as the whalerider.
But the female leader whale reminded the bull whale that she isdescendant of the whale rider, Kahutia Te Rangi. Whereas, Kahutia had told thebull whale while he threw the last spear, “to flower in a time of hardship andto be a relief for its people, there will be a little girl buried her birthcord in that land”. Hence, Kahu is arranged to lead the herd of whales not toforget Kahutia’s words in her destiny. She is designated to be live and protectthe land of Whangara.There are other key points where Kahu isborn to be the only whale rider in her tribe. She loves the whale as her familylike Kahutia.
There was once she cried outside the class when Koro told herstudent about killing whales for festival. When Koro was describing thescenario how people cutting the whale meat, letting the whale blood pool on thebeach, and cooking the whale oil, she could not hold her tears and startedcrying outside the class which Koro finally found out she was listening thelecture covertly outside the class. She also cannot resist to learn everythingabout how to lead the whale even though Koro kicks her out of the class everytime he finds out either Kahu in the class or outside the class secretly, allbecause she is the only whale rider in Kahutia’s prophecy. Kahu is named afterKahutia which she is born to be the whale rider and inherit her ancestorKahutia’s sacred power to communicate with nature. Besides, her mother, Rehuahas the same connection to Muriwai which Kahu will inherit half of the Muriwarilineage which make her brave, lovely, kind, and sympathy person. She could alsolead the whale like man does as she inherited the characteristics from Muriwarilineage.
Nany Flowers once told Kahu about her sister’s story; Mihi Kotukutuku,a female chief who was famous for defying attempts by other chieftains toundercut her own leadership due to her gender.Even though Kahu is a little girl anddisappointed Koro, she did a phenomenal job in saving people in Whangara byleading the herd of whale back into the sea because she believes Nany in faiththat women can act as men. Her destiny is arranged by fate to be the whalerider because she inherited the lineage from Muriwai to be brave; she is thedescendant of the golden whale rider, Kahutia Te Rangi whom she named afterhim, and because she is the spear Kahutia predicted in his prophecy 1000 yearsago. Because she is Kahu, the new whale rider.