May 16, 2012

AWRF 2012: An hour with Witi Ihimaera

An awesome piece on an awesome festival experience by Hiroshi Nakatsuji from Onehunga Library.
Music, activism, and psychic experiences…
summarise my hour with this Maori literary legend.

As a massive Ihimaera fan, it was an indulgent treat to be read passages from A Game of Cards and The Parihaka Woman by the author himself. I was lost in the stories, reliving my fond memories of childhood storytimes.

Music echoes in Ihimaera’s literature. All the lyrics in these passages were sung out by Ihimaera himself with his velvet baritone voice as he revealed that he studied music composition at University as well as English Literature. He described himself: “I’m just really a failed composer”.

“Writing isn’t for the faint-hearted,” the indigenous rights activist says, reminiscing about all the death threats, anonymous phone calls, and stones thrown at his doorstep. He is an activist with wairua who is truly concerned about the marginalised of the world. His passion and compassion to improve the status of indigenous people have taken him all over the globe including Australia, Canada, and Trinidad.

The highlight of the session was on his experience with a psychic while he was serving as a diplomat in Washington DC. On a friend's recommendation, he decided to meet a psychic. However, blinded by the intense light behind Ihimaera, this medium could not see through him and gave up on giving him his fortune. Ihimaera simply answered, “It’s my nan”, proud of being protected by the spirit of his grandmother and muse, Teria Ihimaera.

Of course, I purchased a copy of his latest work The Parihaka Woman, mainly for his autograph. This down-to-earth, humble man actually took a few minutes to chat with me and even gave me a special quote in the book:

“The spiral, at the same time
it goes out, it is returning”.

Ditulis Oleh : tosca // 03:00


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