Paikea is a Maori girl who was born as a twin. Unfortunately her twin brother, who was supposed to be the chief of her village, died at birth and her grandfather did not want her because of her being a girl. Her grandfather then begins to search for a new chief by training young boys from the village. Paikea tries to learn the things the boys are learning in secret and is taught by her uncle. Eventually some whales are beached on the sand outside the village and the village people cannot save them but Pai rides the biggest whale to safety and all the other whales follow her. Her grandfather then realises that she was destined to be chief of the village.