The destiny of the new whale rider, Kahu,
begins in her early childhood. She was born then raised in Whangara, New
Zealand after her mother died giving birth to her. She is then named Kahu, the
descendant of the original whale rider, Kahutia Te Rangi. However, her
grandfather, Koro, refused to bury her birth cord accordingly to the Maori
tradition because she is born to be a girl rather than a boy. Koro was stubborn
and pre-occupied by the Maori’s culture tradition that only male successor
possesses the sacred power to communicate with nature and could lead the herd
of whales from ancestors. He hatred her and began teaching Maori language and
culture in Maori community to find a male successor to lead the tribe in the

Kahu’s destiny did not just end because
Koro was disappointed and did not teach her anything inherited from their
ancestors, including the chant to communicate with whales, and the taiaha, an
ancient weapon of war. Even without learning all these cultures from Koro, she
is still the designated whale rider as all these things are innately bond in
her blood. She found herself being able to communicate to sea creature and lead
them through one incident. It was once Koro led his star pupils out to the sea
and tested their endurance and strength to lead by picking up the whale tooth
necklaceTTK1  he threw into the deep
sea as he was so eager to find out a male can inherit his position. None of
them could return successfully with the necklace, while she is the only one could
retrieve the necklace easily through the aid of dolphins and other sea
creatures. Her grandmother, Nany Flowers was shocked when she saw Kahu could
dive in underwater freely and communicate with dolphins, but she chose not to
tell Koro yet as she thought Koro did not accept her as a leader yet

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Indeed, Koro refused to admit and
recognize her sacred power, but he changed his mind until there was one horrible
event occurred.  Kahu was eight years old
when 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 and
there 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 same
thing as the whales before. He is nostalgic for the days of his youth and the
bond he had had with Kahutia Te Rangi and distressed over the changes to the
world, especially the cruelty and disregard of human beings to all the whales
came and stranded himself on the beach waiting to die. All whales refused
return to sea despite the efforts Koro had done as there is no whale rider to
lead them back to sea. He told Riwari to tell Nany Flowers that it is the time
for women to act as men. Nany told Kahu to stay at the beach, but she swam
towards the whale in the middle of storm because Koro once said to her, “If
they 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 whale
rider. But the female leader whale reminded the bull whale that she is
descendant of the whale rider, Kahutia Te Rangi. Whereas, Kahutia had told the
bull whale while he threw the last spear, “to flower in a time of hardship and
to be a relief for its people, there will be a little girl buried her birth
cord in that land”. Hence, Kahu is arranged to lead the herd of whales not to
forget Kahutia’s words in her destiny. She is designated to be live and protect
the land of Whangara.

There are other key points where Kahu is
born to be the only whale rider in her tribe. She loves the whale as her family
like Kahutia. There was once she cried outside the class when Koro told her
student about killing whales for festival. When Koro was describing the
scenario how people cutting the whale meat, letting the whale blood pool on the
beach, and cooking the whale oil, she could not hold her tears and started
crying outside the class which Koro finally found out she was listening the
lecture covertly outside the class. She also cannot resist to learn everything
about how to lead the whale even though Koro kicks her out of the class every
time he finds out either Kahu in the class or outside the class secretly, all
because she is the only whale rider in Kahutia’s prophecy. Kahu is named after
Kahutia which she is born to be the whale rider and inherit her ancestor
Kahutia’s sacred power to communicate with nature. Besides, her mother, Rehua
has the same connection to Muriwai which Kahu will inherit half of the Muriwari
lineage which make her brave, lovely, kind, and sympathy person. She could also
lead the whale like man does as she inherited the characteristics from Muriwari
lineage. Nany Flowers once told Kahu about her sister’s story; Mihi Kotukutuku,
a female chief who was famous for defying attempts by other chieftains to
undercut her own leadership due to her gender.

Even though Kahu is a little girl and
disappointed Koro, she did a phenomenal job in saving people in Whangara by
leading the herd of whale back into the sea because she believes Nany in faith
that women can act as men. Her destiny is arranged by fate to be the whale
rider because she inherited the lineage from Muriwai to be brave; she is the
descendant of the golden whale rider, Kahutia Te Rangi whom she named after
him, and because she is the spear Kahutia predicted in his prophecy 1000 years
ago. Because she is Kahu, the new whale rider.