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By the words of Paikea Apirana of the Whale Rider movie:
“We can learn, and if the knowledge is given to everyone, then we can have lots of leaders, and soon everyone will be strong, not just the ones that have been chosen.”
Leaders are not born to be leaders but they are being developed as such. It is not a thing that we can get from our blood, genes, tradition and culture but by the character, values, principles and morals that we lived by. A character that is not dictated by norms, gender and fashion but by the choices we make in our lives. We are defined as a person by the choices we make especially by the actions that can spell a difference in other people’s lives.
The leader Koru was a wise leader to know the essentials of being united like the rope that is composed of different fine threads and if bonded and weaved together the rope will become strong. But not wise enough to recognise that those threads have different qualities and have different strengths. It is similar in life; we are a people of different qualities, strengths and abilities and of different gender. If we don’t discriminate gender and recognise each other’s qualities and potentials, we will grow more humane and can build a more tolerant, peaceful and stronger society. Just like the pianist who recognises different tones and notes when played in harmony produces a beautiful music. The movie itself on its last scene where men and women rowed the great “waka” together in unison and in one direction, they are able to take on the vast oceans...as in their life’s struggle and challenges.
Gender played a pivotal role to shape the movie’s perspective in how traditions and customs can make or break a community’s spirit. Old Traditions and Customs can only be relevant if it serves the community’s present needs. It can influence progress but it can also influence backwardness. It may inspire change but it can also encourage reclusiveness.
At this present time women are still being stereotyped...