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Witi Ihimaera - Literary papers of Witi Ihimaera

Identifier: ihiw


Professor Witi Ihimaera is one of New Zealand’s foremost authors. Among his works are 'Pounamu, Pounamu'; 'Whanau','Maori', 'The New Net Goes Fishing' and 'The Whale Rider'. He has written novels, short stories, operas and a play, and has edited anthologies of Māori writing, winning many awards for his work. The film adaptation of 'The Whale Rider' has also received wide acclaim.

Born in Gisborne of Te Whānau a Kai, Aitanga-ā-Mahaki, Rongowhakaata and Ngāti Porou descent, with close affiliations to Tûhoe, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Kahungunu and Ngai Tamanuhiri, Witi Ihimaera graduated in 1971 with a B.A. from Victoria University of Wellington. He has managed to combine creative writing with first a distinguished 15-year career as a diplomat (he was one of the first Māori diplomats), and latterly with an academic career - in 1992 he joined the English Department of the University of Auckland and in 1996 was given professorial status and the title of 'Distinguished Creative Fellow in Maori Literature'. He retired in 2010.

Witi Ihimaera was a Burns Fellow at the University of Otago in 1975, and the Writer in Residence at Victoria University of Wellington in 1982. In 1991 he was awarded an Arts Council Scholarship in Letters, and in 1993 he travelled to Menton, France, as the Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellow. In 2004 he received an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Victoria University of Wellington, and was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (the equivalent of a knighthood in the previous Honours system).

Witi Ihimaera's literary archives have been collected since 1993 as part of the Victoria University of Wellington Library's New Zealand Literary Archive collection, and are held as in the J C Beaglehole Room. They include a wide range of formats, for example drafts of publications, scrapbooks, clipping files, correspondence, photographs, DVDs, and promotional material.


  • Creation: 1970-

Conditions Governing Access

Some material requires researchers to be aged over 18.


1300 linear_centimeters

Language of Materials



Witi Ihimaera has selected and contributed his own archives, sending them through the post in file boxes which are usually labelled with the title of an individual work but which sometimes bear a less distinctive heading.

This arrangement has been respected so that, broadly speaking, each accession equates to an issuable item. Please use the Accession number reference e.g. A2000/27/02, to request items.

Accessions with general titles such as 'miscellaneous' are being described in more detail by the archivist, as resources permit.

Administrative Information

All text and images are copyright to Victoria University of Wellington. Enquiries for re-use should be made in the first instance to the J C Beaglehole Room, VUW Library.

Witi Ihimaera - literary archives
J C Beaglehole Room - archives and manuscripts
Edited Full Draft
Nicola Frean & Sue Hirst
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Finding aid is written inEnglish
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XML EAD edition

Repository Details

Part of the Tapuaka Heritage & Archive Collections - JC Beaglehole Reading Room, Victoria University of Wellington Library Repository

P O Box 3438
Wellington 6140 New Zealand
+64 4 4635681