Pasifika Spotlight: Witi Ihimaera


Witi Ihimaera.

Māori. Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki with close affiliations to Tūhoe, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Kahungunu, and Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, and links to Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Porou, and Te Whakatōhea (source).


Witi Ihimaera is a mammoth figure in New Zealand with many accomplishments under his belt. Witi was the first Māori to publish a short story collection, and a novel, his novels The Whale Rider and White Lies have been adapted into films. In addition to this he has received many awards.

Witi’s life has not been without controversy as his novel as The Trowenna Sea contained plagiarised passages; he ended up purchasing all unsold copies of The Trowenna Sea in 2009.

However, as a gay Māori man Witi Ihimaera’s work can not be overlooked. In his life, he has managed to accomplish a lot and forge a path for other Māori writers. His latest novels include The Māori Boy: A Memoir of Childhood and Black Marks on the White Page.

Want to know more about Witi Ihimaera? Check out his profile on the New Zealand Book Council’s website.


The Māori Boy: A Memoir of Childhood by Witi Ihimaera

Buy it:




Book Depository

Borrow it:

Library Finder

Goodreads blurb: Witi Ihimaera is a consummate storyteller — one critic calling him one of New Zealand’s ‘finest and most memorable’. Some of his best stories, however, are about his own life. This honest, stirring work tells of the family and community into which Ihimaera was born, of his early life in rural New Zealand, of family secrets, of facing anguish and challenges, and of laughter and love. As Ihimaera tells of the myths that formed his early imagination, he also reveals the experiences from real life that wriggled into his fiction.

Black Marks on the White Page edited by Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti

Buy it:



Book Depository




Goodreads blurb: A stunning collection of Oceanic stories for the 21st century.

Stones move, whale bones rise out of the ground like cities, a man figures out how to raise seven daughters alone. Sometimes gods speak or we find ourselves in a not-too-distant future. Here are the glorious, painful, sharp and funny 21st century stories of Maori and Pasifika writers from all over the world. Vibrant, provocative and aesthetically exciting, these stories expand our sense of what is possible in Indigenous Oceanic writing.

Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti present the very best new and uncollected stories and novel excerpts, creating a talanoa, a conversation, where the stories do the talking. And because our commonalities are more stimulating than our differences, the anthology also includes guest work from an Aboriginal Australian writer, and several visual artists whose work speaks to similar kaupapa.

Join us as we deconstruct old theoretical maps and allow these fresh Black Marks on the White Page to expand our perception of the Pacific world.

Further reading:

Review: Maori Boy: A Memoir of Childhood by Witi Ihimaera

Book Review: Maori Boy – a memoir of childhood, by Witi Ihimaera

Review: Māori Boy: A memoir of childhood by Witi Ihimaera (Vintage, $39.99)

Interview: Tina Makareti: Black Marks on the White Page (Audio)

Contribute To Pasifika Spotlight:

Are you a Māori or Pacific Islander (PI) author or do you know of any Māori or PI authors? Then use this form to let me know! I’m on the lookout for more authors to feature in this blog series.


  1. #AsianLitBingo TBR – A Reading Challenge for May – Paper Wanderer

    July 22, 2017 at 9:32 am

    […] please read Anjulie’s post on Pacific Islander erasure in the book community and their Pasifika spotlights posts. Also, check out this Storify of book […]

  2. #AsianLitBingo Wrap-Up for May – Paper Wanderer

    July 22, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    […] spaces, please read Anjulie’s post on Pacific Islander erasure in the book community and their Pasifika spotlights posts. I’ll also be casually taking part in #RamadanReadathon and have just posted my TBR, check […]

  3. The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera – Paper Wanderer

    September 2, 2017 at 7:47 am

    […] out the Pasifika Spotlight on the author, Witi Ihimaera via […]

Leave a Reply