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Witi Ihimaera

Witi_Ihimaera.jpgWiti Ihimaera was born in Gisborne and is of Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki descent. Witi has the distinction of being the first Māori writer to publish both a book of short stories and a novel. He began his working life as a labourer and postman and went on to a distinguished career as a diplomat and university lecturer. As well as authoring short stories and novels, Witi is an opera librettist and a playwright. In 2005 he wrote his first ballet. He is also a director at Learning Media. His novel Whale Rider (1987) was made into an internationally acclaimed film.
Selected bibliography:
  • The Little Kowhai Tree illustrated by Henry Campbell (Huia 2002).
  • Whale Rider adapted by Witi Ihimaera, illustrated by Bruce Potter (Reed 2005).
  • The Amazing Adventures of Razza the Rat illustrated by Astrid Matijasevich (Reed 2006).
  • Burns Fellowship, University of Otago 1975.
  • Writing Fellowship Victoria University 1982.
  • Arts Council Scholarship in Letters 1991.
  • Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellow 1993.
  • Honorary Doctorate of Literature Victoria University.
  • New Zealand Book Council International Writers' Programme 2002.
  • Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit 2004.
  • Storylines Notable Book Awards 2006 Picture Books List for Whale Rider.
  • Arts Foundation Laureate 2009.


Storylines Trust Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki and Friends of Storylines Te Pou o Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki together form New Zealand’s only national organisation working year-round to promote New Zealand children’s and young adult literature through activities that include a major national Story Tour to schools, early childhood centres and communities, and awards for writers, illustrators and those who work in the area of New Zealand children’s literature



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