Article Title:NZ Order of Merit for Witi Ihimaera
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or News Staff
Published on:9th June 2004 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:2353
Text:Author Witi Ihimaera has been awarded the equivalent of a knighthood, named in the Queen's Birthday honours as a distinguished companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Ihimaera says he shares the award with all New Zealanders, and paid tribute to literary legends Janet Frame and Michael King, who passed away this year. "It is our job to tell the stories of the tribe, to add to the nation's narrative - the stories that can be told around the camp fires and they [Frame and King] did that." His first novel was published in 1974, the first by a Maori man. Twenty years later, he published the gay-themed Nights in the Gardens of Spain and received death threats for it. Another of his books, Whale Rider, was turned into New Zealand's most commercially-successful film to date, garnering Oscar nominations and critical accolades worldwide.    
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