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There is a legend that Paikea rode on the back of a whale and led his people to New Zealand. Since that time tradition has decreed that the first-born male descendant will become chief of the tribe. Then Pai is born…and she is a girl. She grows up within a close-knit village which retains the tribes traditional spiritual relationship with the sea and their warrior values. Although loved by all, Pai faces rejection from her grandfather, Koro, who is brokenhearted that there is no grandson to carry on the line.