Ihimaera, Witi

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Ihimaera, Witi Gender: M
Witi Tame Ihimaera-Smiler
born on 7 February 1944 at 09:50 (= 09:50 AM )
Place Gisborne, New Zealand, 38s40, 178e01
Timezone NZT h12e (is standard time)
Data source
Rodden Rating B
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_aqucol.18.gif 17°00' s_mo.18.gif s_cancol.18.gif 21°47 Asc.s_aricol.18.gif 09°15'

Witi Ihimaera (in Frankfurt in October 2012)
photo: NZatFrankfurt, license cc-by-2.0


New Zealand author who was the first published Māori novelist. Ihimaera is of Māori descent (Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki) and Anglo-Saxon descent through his father. His stories generally portray Māori culture in modern New Zealand. His work often focuses on problems within contemporary Māori society.

He began to work as a diplomat at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1973, and served at various diplomatic posts in Canberra, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Ihimaera remained at the Ministry until 1989, although his time there was broken by several fellowships at the University of Otago in 1975 and Victoria University of Wellington in 1982 (where he graduated with a BA). In 1990, he took up a position at the University of Auckland, where he became Professor, and Distinguished Creative Fellow in Māori Literature. He retired from this position in 2010.

In 1995, Ihimaera published Nights in the Gardens of Spain, a semi-autobiographical work about a married father of two daughters coming out. He had come out to himself as gay in 1984 and began the work, but out of sensitivity to his daughters, did not finish or publish it then. Nights In The Gardens Of Spain was filmed in 2010 with changes to the book, making the central character Māori rather than Pākehā (European) to more closely reflect Ihimaera's life. His story The Whale Rider was also made into a film.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • Relationship : Marriage 1970 (Jane Cleghorn)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1973 (Debut novel, "Tangi")
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 2014 (Autobiography, "Māori Boy: A Memoir of Childhood")

Source Notes

Sy Scholfield quotes date and time from "Māori Boy: A Memoir of Childhood" by Witi Ihimaera (Vintage, 2014): "7 February 1944 ... I was born on 7 February ... According to my mother, I was born around 9.50a.m."; and place from news article: "Gisborne was where he was born, at Cook Hospital, in 1944, and where his parents were farmers and shearers" ("Witi Ihimaera's charmed life" by Diana Dekker, 8 June 2013 [1]).


  • Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (Two daughters)
  • Passions : Sexuality : Homosexual male (Gay)
  • Vocation : Education : Teacher
  • Vocation : Politics : Diplomat
  • Vocation : Writers : Autobiographer ("Māori Boy: A Memoir of Childhood")
  • Vocation : Writers : Columnist/ journalist
  • Vocation : Writers : Fiction (Novels, short stories)