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The welcome dance performed when Pai's father returns to the community is one of many examples of religious practice. There are numerous discussions and evidences of the thorough nature of the Maori's cultural traditions as they saturate much of the life of the village. The welcome dance, performed for a returning son, is just one example of how tradition remains important to the village and how the village communicates that importance to itself and to others.
This film could be said to be an example of Maori spirituality in so many ways. Certainly the part when Pai communicates with the lead whale and encourages him to lead the herd of whales back out to sea is a vital part to focus on - it captures the key legend of this Maori group and shows how Pai is able to fulfil her role as tribal leader and be accepted as tribal leader by her grandfather.
The premise of the film is the recapture of the Maori traditions and customs by the younger generations, and their spiritual education. Grandfather starts a school for the young men, where he teaches them custom, but also how to develop their spirit as Maori warriors. The dances he teaches them, with the facial expressions are good examples of spirituality in the film.
In one of the final scenes of the movie, with the whales beached and the people trying to save them, Pai convinces the lead whale to return to the sea and the rest follow it. The tribe is on the beaches singing traditional songs as they realize what Pai is. The interaction between Pai and the whale is also a good example of spirituality.
The school that the grandfather started shows examples of spirituality of the culture because he specifically did not want them to die out; so he started a school to explicitly make sure those traditions continued. If he didn't, then the culture might be lost.
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