Chapter 1 begins in myth, and myths explain what was once unexplainable to a people. What does the myth of the whale rider explain to the Maori people? 2. Chapter 2 gives us the point of view of the whales. The bull whale remembers his master, the “golden man. ” Do you think that the whale is as old as the myth, or do you think that the whale draws on the collective memory of his culture? Or, do you have another idea? Give your answer with reasons. 3. Chapter 3 is about the birth of Kahu. Why is Koro upset that Kahu is a girl? 4. What is the controversy about Kahu’s name? . What could be the significance of the whale sounding when Nanny, Rawiri and the boys bury Kahu’s birth cord? 6. How is Kahu different from typical babies in Chapter 4? 7. The first part of the novel is titled “Spring: The Force of Destiny. ” Explain why this appropriate in terms of archetypes. 8. Chapter 5 starts a new section of the novel, ‘Summer: Halycon’s Flight”. What does this foreshadow? 9. What does it mean when Kahu bites Koro’s toe? 10. What are the tests for Maori leadership? Chapters 7-12 1. Why does Koro not like to be called Paka? 2. Discuss the idea of interlock. 3.
Which character fits the archetype of the Earth Mother and why? 4. Which character seems to Kahu’s mentor? 5. Explain the wisdom of the traditional Maori fishing style. 6. How does Kahu’s relationship with the whales show itself? 7. What could have caused the flash of bright light and radioactive seas that caused the Whales to flee their traditional waters in chapter 9? The approximate time period in human terms was WWII, 1946–you’ll probably have to do a little research for this one. 8. Why does Rawiri go to Australia? 9. What does Rawiri learn of the perception of Maori by the plantation owners in Papua New Guinea? 0. Discuss Kahu’s trials and how she becomes stronger throughout the novel. Chapters 13-18 1. Why does Koro toss the stone into the ocean? What is it supposed to synbolize? 2. Why does Nanny Flowers not want Rawiri to tell Koro about Kahu finding the stone? 3. Why does the herd follow the delusional bull whale in chapter 14? How is this a parallel to what we see happening in the novel (think of Koro’s stubborn leadership). 4. Why do you think that the whales have beached themselves? 5. What does the “Human butchery” show about the general regard of the whales?
What do the actions of the ones who try to save the whales show about themselves? 6. How does the beaching of the whales in Whangara differ from the beaching of the whales Wainui Beach? Why is the second beaching much more of a spiritual battle than a physical one, or is it? 7. Why is it Rawiri that plunges into the ocean to try to save Kahu and not Pourouangi? How does this fit the archetype of the mentor? 8. Why does Kahu go to the whale in the first place? 9. Why is Kahu not afraid to die? 10. When does Koro realize that he has made a grave error in judgement? His reaction shows what about him?