« What's the Buzz

Not Middle Earth, Māori Earth

By Alex Mutter

New Zealand author Witi Ihimaera spoke at the Frankfurt Book Fair. New Zealand is the 2012 Guest of Honor.

“In all of my work, I try to put myth first,” explained Witi Ihimaera, renowned New Zealand author of Māori descent. “I don’t want to create a Middle Earth in New Zealand—I want to create a Māori Earth.”

Ihimaera, the author of Whale Rider and 2011’s The Parihaka Woman, spoke with Rowan Payton about the realities of being an indigenous novelist at the New Zealand Forum yesterday.

“I’m always trying to operate from a Māori center, and then move outward,” said Ihimaera. “The land is a history book, the sky is a celestial text, the sea is a marine text. The Māori learned to read these texts a very long time ago.”

Ihimaera said being an indigenous writers means living in relative isolation—according to Ihimaera, there are really only five practicing Māori novelists—and inherent opposition. “I think any indigenous writer is in a confrontational position. From the beginning, you are writing against the dominant texts.”

This entry was posted in What's the Buzz and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • SIGN UP NOW!
    Enter your email address below to receive daily news updates from Publishing Perspectives.
    Click here to learn more about our newsletters
  • Monetize Your Backlist

    Organized by Publishing Perspectives

    Hear experts from publishing and technology discuss strategies and tools you can use to generate more revenue from your backlist content.

    What: Monetizing the Backlist event
    When: 9am–1pm on April 24, 2014
    Where: Scholastic Headquarters, NYC

    Buy your tickets now!