In the movie Whale Rider, Paikea, the main character, overcomes her struggles with Paka, her grandfather, and becomes the new leader of the tribe. Paka repeatedly rejects her throughout the movie for her gender. He is angry because she had lived after birth, while her twin brother did not. He scolds her everytime she attempts to try one of the excercises the boys are doing to see who will be the chosen one. Evaluating three of Gardner’s Eight Intelligences, readers can see how Paikea has naturalistic, intrapersonal, and also kinesthetic intelligences, and how she uses them to be a leader.
Paikea has naturalistic intelligence, which is the ability to recognize patterns and relationships to nature. In the movie, Paikea gives speeches over her ancestry and history. She shows her knowledge over her Maori culture and the whales. A very good example of her relationship to nature is when she calls out to the whales. Paikea is one of the only ones who can call out to whales and be heard. Towards the end of the movie she proves once again her intelligence, when she rides a whale into the water.
Another intelligence Paikea has is intrapersonal, which is the ability to introspect and self-reflect. Paikea knows about her twin brother’s death after birth. She is aware that that is the reason Paka rejects her and although it hurts her, she does not resent him for it. Paikea also has poetic skills. Proof of this is her winning the poem and speech contest at her school. In the movie, Paikea is leaving New Zealand with her father and as they are driving by the water, she sees a whale.
She realizes what she must do and asks her father to take her back home. Lastly, Paikea showed kinesthetic intelligence, which involves strength in physical movement and fine motor control. Paikea is surprisingly good in using the Taiaha, which is the traditional weapon used by males while fighting. She knocked down another boys taiaha during a scene in the movie. Paikea also shows her bodily motions while she is dancing with the rest of the girls at her school.
Paikea also proves her kinesthetic intelligence when she is able to turn on the boat motor when her grandfather could not. She also swims to the bottom of the water to get her grandfathers whale tooth necklace back. In conclusion, these three intelliegences were shown well in Paikea throughout the movie. She overcomes the struggles with her grandfather and understands him for rejecting her. Paikea does not give up once in trying to show her grandfather that she is the one.
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