Exposed plagiarist Witi Ihimaera given $50,000 award

Witi Ihimaera. Photo / Paul Estcourt
Witi Ihimaera. Photo / Paul Estcourt

Prominent New Zealand author Witi Ihimaera has been named an Arts Foundation laureate and will receive a no-strings-attached $50,000 to spend as he pleases.

The announcement comes after Mr Ihimaera admitted plagiarising material from other writers in his new book, The Trowenna Sea.

Listener reviewer Jolisa Gracewood discovered the unattributed material, which Mr Ihimaera subsequently apologised for and said would be acknowledged in future editions.

"The Laureate awards are about recognising senior New Zealand artists who have a substantial track record of excellence," said Arts Foundation chairperson Ros Burdon.

The foundation honours five artists each year, who are chosen by a panel of creative experts.

Carver Lyonel Grant, photographer Anne Noble and musicians Chris Knox and Richard Nunns were also awarded laureateships.

Mr Ihimaera published his first collection of short stories, Pounamu Pounamu, in 1972, followed by the novel Tangi in 1974. He is also the author of Whale Rider, which was turned into a feature-length film starring Keisha Castle-Hughes.

His latest novel follows the story of Hohepa Te Umuroa, who was transported as a convict to Tasmania in the 1840s along with four other Maori.


- NZ Herald

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