In the second half of the novel, Ihimaera reveals that even Koro’s stubbornness has its limits. After ignoring Kahu’s love for years, Koro finds himself in desperate need of his great granddaughter. After his ancient methods failed to save the bull whale, Koro calls Nanny Flowers for reinforcements. Even when the women are called to help, Koro still tells Kahu to stay back. Throughout the novel, Koro never gives his great granddaughter a single chance to prove her value in the tribe. Until it is undoubtedly clear that Kahu is the whale rider, Koro never even thinks to look. However, once her power is revealed, he embraces her for what she truly is.
I do not blame Koro for neglecting all of the signs in this novel. He was always taught that a man must be the whale rider. This is no different from how the Catholic Church feels that only a man can change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. It is the way he was brought up, and he does not know any other way to think. The very traditions that he is trying to use to save his people are holding him back. This is a great example of how culture can sometimes blind people from coming to the right answers. Koro should have focused on the signs instead of sticking strictly to tradition, and he could have saved his tribe earlier.