STORIES BY BOOK & SCREEN
Maori novelist Witi Ihimaera (The Whale Rider, Bulibasha) and Maori screen director Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors, Die Another Day, Mahana) join Anne O’Brien, director of New Zealand’s premier writers festival to discuss storytelling on the page and on the screen and the opportunities and challenges of negotiating story across those mediums. Tamahori’s film Mahana is based on Ihimaera’s novel Bulibasha: King of the Gypsies (1994). Described by Ihimaera as an attempt to write a Maori western, this ‘exuberant novel with a New Zealand brand of magical realism’ recounts the rivalry between two great Maori families of shearers and sportsmen and women spanning the period from World War I to the 1990s. The film premiered in 2016 at the Berlin Film Festival.
*Please note that tickets will go on sale ON SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18th at 9:00AM and will close the day before the event at 5:00PM. Please also note that all sessions are subject to change without prior notice; all affected parties will be notified.*
One of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most celebrated writers, Witi Ihimaera is the bestselling author of seven short story collections and 15 novels including The Whale Rider (1987) and Bulibasha (1994), which was released as the movie Mahana in 2016. Recent books include Maori Boy: A Memoir of Childhood which won the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Award for non-fiction. His upcoming wok includes, this year, Black Marks on the White Page and the novel Sleeps Standing. Witi has worked as a diplomat, taught literature at the University of Auckland and has been involved in a number of cultural organisations including as a board member of the New Zealand Film Commission.
New Zealand film director Lee Tamahori (Ngāti Porou) won acclaim for his first feature film and the third highest grossing film ever made in New Zealand, Once Were Warriors, based on an adaptation of the Alan Duff novel of the same name. It examined a world of domestic violence and gangs for an urban Maori family. Since then Lee has established an international career with films including the James Bond blockbuster Die Another Day, and the thriller The Edge. In 2015, he returned home to direct the film Mahana which debuted at the Berlin Film Festival. Based on the novel Bulibasha, by Witi Ihimaera, it is about two families battling for supremacy against a backdrop of intergenerational and social upheaval.
Anne O’Brien is the Festival Director of the Auckland Writers Festival, New Zealand’s premier festival of books and ideas presenting a 150+ event programme for six days each May and attracting attendance of more than 65,000. She has been with the Festival since 2011 and is responsible for both artistic programming and organisational leadership. Anne is a trained journalist who worked in public broadcasting and has experience across both the private and public sectors in finance, negotiation, event production and management, sponsorship and administration. Previous roles include Manager of Wellington Writers & Readers Week and Executive Director of the not-for-profit organisation Women in Film and Television.