Witi Ihimaera guest of honor at the 33rd International First Peoples Festival
Montreal, July 6th 2023. The 33rd Montreal international First Peoples Festival is proud to welcome the
famous māori author Witi Ihimaera as guest of honor. The illustrious novelist will be in Montreal from
August 6th to 12th and will take part in the official opening of the festival on August 8th. Several activities
will mark his visit: details will be announced on July 11th when the lineup is unveiled.
“The great Māori writer Witi Ihimaera considers ‘the world I’m in as being Māori, not European,’ and his
fiction develops out of this perspective. He creates imaginative new realities for his readers, drawing from
autobiographical experience. His novel, The Whale Rider, has become an internationally successful feature
film. Māori Boy: A Memoir of Childhood won the General Non-Fiction Award at the 2016 Ockham New
Zealand Book Awards. Most recently, Ihimaera was honoured for his fiction with the 2017 Prime Minister’s
Award for Literary Achievement.
Ihimaera, Witi (Witi Tame Ihimaera-Smiler) (1944 – ), novelist, short story writer, anthologist and librettist,
was born in Gisborne. He has the distinction of being the first Māori writer to publish both a book of short
stories and a novel. He is of Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki descent, with close affiliations to Tūhoe, Te Whānau-aApanui, Ngāti Kahungunu, and Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, and links to Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Porou, and Te
Whakatōhea. His family marae is the family house of the Pere family, Rongopai, in Waituhi, near Gisborne.
The extraordinary paintings, rather than carvings, decorating the meeting house’s interior, have been
described in rich detail in his writing.
Much of Ihimaera’s fiction is based on fact, but his work is never simply autobiographical. Waituhi, for
example, the village setting for many of his narratives, is an imaginative recreation of the actual place. The
fictional Waituhi’s ‘physical cohesion [providing] an “objective correlative” to the ethos that binds the
tangata whenua together’.’
Source : Read NZ Te Pou Muramura, https://www.read-nz.org/writers-files/writer/ihimaera-witi
The Press Conference to unveil the festival lineup will take place at BaNQ on July 11th at 10:30 a.m.
Information : IXION Communications, 514 495-8176, firstname.lastname@example.org