The Question and Answer section for The Whale Rider is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss 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.
The tone and mood of the story varies from desperate to mournful to exhilarating. I saw the movie version so long ago that I can't recall the camera angles.
Koro establishes a school to teach adolescent boys ther ancient customs to develop the skills to enable one of them lead a tribe one day.