2018 HONOURED NEW ZEALAND WRITER: WITI IHIMAERA
The writing of Witi Ihimaera (Te Aitanga-a-Mahāki, Tūhoe, Te Wha nau-ā-Apanui) has touchd generations of readers. The first Māori writer to publish both a book of short stories and a novel, he has since written more than 30 books for adults and children, as well as screenplays, scripts, essays and libretto. Born in Gisborne, Ihimaera worked in the diplomatic service through the 1970s and 1980s, eventually taking up the position of Professor of Creative Writing at The University of Auckland. His bestknown novel is The Whale Rider, made into the award-winning film. Other novels adapted for the screen include Nights in the Garden of Spain, Bulibasha and Medicine Woman. He is the recipient of numerous awards including: Book of the Year at the New Zealand Book Awards; an inaugural Star of Oceania Award from the University of Hawaii; a laureate award from the New Zealand Arts Foundation; the Toi Māori Maui Tiketike Award; the premiere Māori arts award Te Tohu Tiketike a Te Waka Toi; and the Premio Ostana International Award. He is a Distinguished Companion of the Order of New Zealand. Beyond the prizes, Ihimaera is a respected voice on Māori, Pacific and indigenous affairs, and advocates compellingly for Māori artists, as well as for Māori and New Zealand literature. Salute his remarkable achievements in an hour chaired by Paula Morris.