Controversial novel not republished

By Paul Harper

Witi Ihimaera. Photo / Richard Robinson
Witi Ihimaera. Photo / Richard Robinson

Book publisher Penguin has decided against republishing Witi Ihimaera's controversial novel The Trowenna Sea, despite last year promising an amended version would be released this year.

The Whale Rider author was found to have plagarised the work of historians in the historical fiction released last year by Penguin imprint Raupo.

The plagarism was discovered by a reviewer who googled extracts from The Trowenna Sea, which were found to match the works of other writers.

Following the revelation Mr Ihimaera said he would purchase the remaining warehouse stock of the book and Penguin promised they would take back stock from retailers who wished to return it.

Mr Ihimaera and Penguin's publishing director Geoff Walker also said a revised edition would be released this year, with a section by the author acknowledging the authors of the work he had used.

However Mr Walker today said they will not be republishing The Trowenna Sea "in the foreseeable future".

Mr Walker refused to comment on the reasons why the book would not be rereleased.

"We've talked to Witi about the situation and decided not to republish it at this time.

"I'm not stating the reasons."

Mr Walker said Penguin will be publishing Mr Ihimaera's books in the future, and details on his next release yet to be finalised.

The Trowenna Sea is the story of Hohepa Te Umuroa, who was convicted of insurrection and transported as a convict to Tasmania with four other Maori in the 1840s.

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