Growing Up… without ever knowing her mother or twin brother. Her mother died giving birth, and her twin brother never had a chance. And if that were not bad enough, Paikea (“Pai”) lost her father as well. He left for New Zealand to pursue his art career, leaving Pai behind to be raised by her grandparents and aunts.
Living… in Whangara, a small Maori village in New Zealand. Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, and Whangara’s citizens do their best to carry on their traditions in the modern day. The Chief of their tribe is her grandfather Koro, but there is no one to in line after him. It would have been Pai’s father or her twin brother if either of them were still around.
Interests… whatever the boys are doing. Pai is a free-spirited tomboy.
Relationship Status… unattached. She’s only twelve years old.
Challenge…. convincing her grandfather, Koro, that even though she’s a girl, she’s still worthy to become leader of the tribe. As Koro has made it crystal clear that no girl can ever become chief, it’s an uphill battle, to say the least. After being told for so many years that she is worthless because she is a girl, Pai is also struggling to find acceptance and love.
Personality… determined, wise, and sensitive. Paikea has an intrinsic connection with right whales, an important symbol for her tribe. She stands up for what she believes even in the face of the adults around her, and isn’t afraid to take risks to do what’s right.
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