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Witi Ihimaera
Photo Credit: Andi Crown

Witi Ihimaera

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Three-time winner of the Wattie/Montana Book of the Year award, Katherine Mansfield fellow and playwright Witi Ihimaera is one of New Zealand’s most prolific and accomplished writers. Witi’s first novel, Tangi, won the Wattie Book of the Year Award in 1974, a feat he repeated with The Matriarch in 1986. His celebrated novel Bulibasha, King of the Gypsies, now adapted as the film Mahana, won the Montana Book of the Year award in 1995. Witi’s other novels and short story collections include The Whale Rider (also adapted as an internationally successful film); Dream Swimmer (sequel to the award-winning The Matriarch); Pounamu, Pounamu and Nights In The Gardens of Spain. In 2015 he published the first volume of his autobiography, Maori Boy.


'Part oracle, part memoralist, Ihimaera is an inspired voice...'

Metro (NZ)

'A writer just doesn’t come out fully formed. A writer is the result of experiences...'

Witi Ihimaera

'The voice on the page is very much the voice of the man: eloquent, endearing, cheeky, somehow proud and humble at the same time, willing to put it all out there.'

NZ Books

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Writing Q+A with Witi Ihimaera

As he has been publishing now for 50 years, we emailed some questions about writing to Witi, who answered them on a plane journey.

Looking for ways into Witi Ihimaera's works?

Writing about the Māori world, both rural and urban, often knocking into the Pākehā status quo, Witi Ihimaera’s writing has always offered a broader view of what New Zealand literature could be – should be – about.

The Astromancer by Witi Ihimaera | Book Trailer

Te Kokorangi is Witi Ihimaera’s lively Matariki story — The Astromancer — translated into te reo Maori by Heni Jacob.

At Home With Penguin and Witi Ihimaera

We are proud to present the first of our At Home with Penguin video series, in which we ask some of NZ’s most wonderful authors to talk about life in lockdown – kicking off with Witi Ihimaera on The Whale Rider, neighbourhood walks and why the peace of lockdown might NOT be good for writers’ creativity! With numerous short stories, novels, libretti, plays, memoirs – well over 20 books, plus many more Witi Ihimaera has edited or contributed to – where do you begin? Here is a handy guide from our Fiction Publisher, Harriet Allan: https://bit.ly/3bEL8ks

Witi Ihimaera wins at Ockham New Zealand Book Awards

Witi Ihimaera's Maori Boy takes out the General Non-Fiction Category at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards

What's in a cover?

The symbolism of Black Marks on the White Page's jacket illustration. 

Short story club – 26 July 2018

Read the story being discussed on Jesse Mulligan’s show on Radio New Zealand on 26 July 2018