The short story “The Whale” by Witi Ihimaera follows an old Maori man while he visits the meeting house of his village. The man thinks about relatives who died, and being the last of his generation. He recalls the meeting house as a happy place for the people in the village who were like an extended family, and laments the loss of Maori traditions.

Feeling he is going to die soon, he remembers how the village changed during his life and how many people left looking for a better life in the city. The man thinks of his niece, Hera, and how he told her to come to the meeting house after his death where his spirit will talk to her.

He recalls telling Hera stories about the Maori culture and traditions so that she would become one of the few keepers of their c...

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