Witi Ihimaera (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Tūhoe, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tamanuhiri) is a Distinguished Companion in the New Zealand Order of Merit, has received the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement, Te Tohutiketike a Te Waka Toi, the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship and is an Arts Foundation Laureate.
He is one of New Zealand’s most distinguished writers. He was the first published Māori novelist who is perhaps best known for writing The Whale Rider which became an internationally successful film of the same name. Other noteable works include Pounamu Pounamu, Tangi, The Matriarch, Nights In The Gardens of Spain and Bulibasha King of the Gypsies (the last two of which have also been made into films). He is a short story writer, playwright, librettist and editor of many important volumes including Te Ao Marama (a 5-volume anthology of contemporary Māori writing), Mataora: Contemporary Māori Art, and Growing Up Māori. His memoir Māori Boy won the General Non-fiction Award in the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
Photo by Andi Crown Photography.