The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction - Vol. 3

By John Clement Ball | Go to book overview

I

Ihimaera, Witi
JUNIPER ELLIS

Witi Ihimaera’s 1973 novel Tangi launched him as the first published Maori novelist and received New Zealand’s premier book award, the Wattie/ Montana Book of the Year. Ihimaera’s publications include nine novels, six short story collections, a play, three children’s books, and six edited volumes of Maori writing. Central to his writing is a living storehouse of traditions including tribal affiliations with the Te Whānau-a-Kai, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Rongowhakaata, and Ngāti Porou people. Ihimaera, also known as Witi Ihimaera Smiler, is one of the most prominent Maori writers and one of only two three-time winners of the Wattie/Montana Award.

Ihimaera was born on February 7, 1944 in Gisborne, New Zealand. After working as a newspaper writer, he completed a bachelor’s degree at Victoria University in 1971. Tangi caught the eye of New Zealand’s prime minister and helped inaugurate Ihimaera’s 16-year career as a diplomat. Since 1990 he has taught at Auckland University.

Ihimaera’s work is founded on a vital sense of place. His early books – such as Tangi, the short story collection Pounamu, Pounamu (1972), and the novel Whanau (1974) – present lyrical narrative mappings of ancestral lands, of genealogy, and of cosmology. The sacred meeting house Rongopai, the village Waituhi, and the town Gisborne form the backbone of these early celebrations of Maori culture and strength. These books offer affectionate portraits of quirky recurring characters, as does the later Bulibasha: King of the Gypsies (1994), which presents an exuberant, often comic rivalry between families in Waituhi.

Ihimaera’s later works present Maori history with an increasing sense of urgency. The Matriarch, winner of Ihimaera’s second Wattie/Montana Award, uses a second-person narrative to confront Pākehā, or European-descended, readers. Drawing upon sources such as newspaper accounts, written and oral histories, myths, prayers, chants, and songs, The Matriarch rewrites New Zealand history, decentering Pākehā perspectives and focusing on Maori resistance in nineteenth-century colonial New Zealand wars, as well as other settings. Historical figures including parliamentarian Wi Pere and millenarian prophet Te Kooti assume starring roles in staking Maori claims to their homelands.

Both The Matriarch (1986) and its sequel, The Dream Swimmer (1997), emphasize the spiritual and political claims Maori have to the land. The families Ihimaera portrays communicate with one another across generations, using stories, myths, and dreams to transmit sacred knowledge. The characters then bear an ancestral charge to reclaim land that was alienated illegally. This call for solidarity recurs in thirtieth-anniversary rewrites of Ihimaera’s first three books: Pounamu, Pounamu (2003), Whanau II (2004), and Tangi and its sequel, The Return (published as The Rope of Man, 2005). The new versions emphasize historical and personal trauma and urge the righting of wrongs through such narratives and by renewing legal claims to the land.

While celebrating Maori traditions, Ihimaera also shows how women, gays, and lesbians have

-1145-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction - Vol. 3
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Editors i
  • The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Literature WWW.Literatureencyclopedia.Com ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Entries vii
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Notes on Contributors to Volume III xv
  • Introduction to Volume III 937
  • A 942
  • B 980
  • C 995
  • D 1034
  • E 1052
  • F 1066
  • G 1094
  • H 1121
  • I 1145
  • J 1154
  • K 1167
  • L 1180
  • M 1198
  • N 1252
  • O 1270
  • P 1277
  • Q 1296
  • R 1300
  • S 1325
  • T 1365
  • U 1370
  • V 1373
  • W 1378
  • Z 1398
  • Index 1400
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 1484

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.