Witi Ihimaera (Witi Tame Ihimaera) Biography
(1944– ), (Witi Tame Ihimaera), Pounamu, Pounamu, Tangi, Whanau, Waituhi—The Life of the Village
New Zealand Maori novelist and short-story writer, born at Gisborne, educated at Auckland University, and at Victoria University, Wellington. Ihimaera worked for many years for the Ministry of External Affairs and has held posts in many countries. His story collection Pounamu, Pounamu (1972) was the first collection of stories by a Maori writer to be published, and has proved popular in furnishing an image of Maori culture and identity. Tangi (1973), the first novel by a Maori writer, and Whanau (1974) continue his exploration of his people's rural culture; Whanau was also the basis for his 1984 opera Waituhi—The Life of the Village. With The New Net Goes Fishing (1977) Ihimaera began a new trilogy treating Maoris in an urban setting. He edited, with D. S. Long, Into the World of Light: An Anthology of Maori Writing (1982). Later fiction includes The Matriarch (1986), The Whale Rider (1987), Dear Miss Mansfield: A Tribute to Katherine Mansfield (1989, short stories), and Bulibashi: King of the Gypsies (1994). Introducing Witi Ihimaera (1984), by Richard Corballis and Simon Garrett, provides a valuable perspective of his work. He is also editor of Te Ao Marama (from 1992), a series of anthologies of contemporary Maori writing.
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