Director: Niki Caro
Producer: Tim Saunders, John Barnett, Frank
Screenwriter: Niki Caro
Stars: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene,
Vicky Haughton, Cliff Curtis
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Year of Release: 2003
Released on Video: 10/28/2003
In present day New Zealand the 12-year-old
Maori girl Pai believes that she could serve as the chief
of her tribe. Her grandfather loves her but fiercely opposes
this idea. He doubts Pai, questioning her achievements, insists,
despite everything she achieves, that she is only a girl.
This causes her much pain but she perseveres, demonstrating
amazing strength and determination to reach her goal.
After you have finished watching the movie,
take a couple of deep breaths and let the impressions of the
film help you with the following exercises.
Exercise 1. Acceptance
In order to heal and transform we need to first
accept ourselves: admit that we are wounded. We need to take
powerlessness and reclaim it as surrender. We need to take
vulnerability and draw out of it the freedom that comes with
self-acceptance. Our strength and hope lies in the acceptance
of our limitations. In the acceptance of our limitations we
become, ironically, a fuller self.
Write without interrupting your stream of consciousness
what you learned from this movie about acceptance and how
this relates to you and your own struggle.
Exercise 2. Small Acts of Courage in
Spite of Fear
Though fear can paralyze the spirit it also
calls us to the access one tiny act of courage to keep hope
alive. These acts can start put us back in control of our
lives. We need to take fear and move it into courage. Did
you see a character in the film take some small acts of courage
in spite of fear? Have you done this in the past?
Describe, how you felt when you did this and
how it helped you prevailed.
Exercise 3. Determination and Endurance
It is ironically the very process of responding
with determination to each element in struggle that nourishes
hope. We need to face the exhaustion struggle brings and endure
to the end.
We need not to give in to the thing that defeated
us. We need to refuse to give up, either on ourselves or on
the world around us. Endurance is the light of hope in a continuing
darkness that must somehow some way give way to the light
of dawn. Endurance makes transformation imperative. Did you
see examples in the film, which show that determination and
endurance helped certain characters get stronger? Have you
experienced this in the past? Describe your experience and
how it could apply to your current situation and potential
Exercise 4. Transformation
Struggle with loss and disappointment can scar
us, but it can vitalize us too. A hole we feel inside us needs
to be filled with something better. Out of all this can come
new strength, a new sense of self, new compassion, and a new
sense of a very purpose of my life. There are some parts to
the human character that are honed best, and may be only,
under tension. The hard thing to understand is that it is
the becoming that counts, not the achievements, not the roles
we managed to mantle ourselves in. Struggle can transform
us from our small, puny, self-centered selves into people
with compassion. It not only can transform us; it can makes
us transforming as well. For this to happen we need to learn
to listen better. We cannot walk quickly, so we learn to wait.
Did you see examples in the film, which show
this kind of transformation? Have you experienced this in
the past? Take a couple of slow breaths and listen inward.
Describe your experience and how it could apply to your current
situation and potential future