The Question and Answer section for The Whale Rider is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
1) Man is supposed to be nature's protector, but mankind no longer acts in this capacity. Thus, nature is hostile and angry toward mankind.
2) Adhering to tradition or pushing tradtition aside for modernity
This question does not seem specific to the novel.
The birth of girls was not celebrated, society only celebrated the birth of boys, who would carry on the line. Kahu is born into a patriachal society.