Education Blog

Viewing: Whale Rider

By Emily Ohara, Education Program Manager & JBFC Kids Curator 07.21.20

Whale Rider 

101 min. 2002. New Zealand. English. PG-13.

Recommended Age: 11+

Read Common Sense Media to learn more about whether Whale Rider is right for your child. 

Streaming: Tubi (Free) , free with Amazon Prime


A Maori village faces a crisis when the heir to the leadership of the Ngati Konohi dies at birth and is survived only by his twin sister, Paikea. Though disregarded by her grandfather, 12-year-old Paikea remains certain of her calling and trains herself in the customs of her people.

Why JBFC Kids Curator Emily Ohara (@TeachEmFilm) recommends it: 

This powerful story about a young girl finding her voice in the face of disbelief and discouragement will tug you by the heartstrings as you fall in love with New Zealand and the Maori people. The breathtaking landscapes reflect these unforgettable characters, especially Paikea, who will no doubt inspire young girls to trust in themselves and aspire to be leaders. A drama with playful comedic moments, Whale Rider will leave you in suspense at times, wondering what will happen to Paikea and her whale.

Fun Fact: 

All of the extras (the people with no speaking parts) came from the town where the story takes place.

Take it Further:

JBFC Kids: At Home Viewing List 

JBFC Kids curator Emily Ohara has selected her favorite films to share! From shorts and documentaries to animations and silent films, these engaging and meaningful stories are fun for the whole family—and ready to stream!

For parent reviews of each film please visit: