“I didn’t tell anyone about it until I was 73 … I’m 75,”


Speaking to John Campbell today Witi Ihimaera about this new book Native Son the writer’s memoir, he talked about how he overcame being raped as a child and self-harm to become an esteemed and much loved author.

Ihimaera is a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit and the first Māori to publish a novel. He joined TVNZ1’s Breakfast this morning to talk about the memoir.

Talking to Campbell today Ihimaera recounted being raped as an 11-year-old boy by his uncle.

“I didn’t tell anyone about it until I was 73 … I’m 75,” he said.

Native Son the writer’s memoir covers Ihimaera’s life from the start of high school and his journey to becoming a writer.

“It has been a long and sometimes turtous and challenging and in the end absolutely luminous journey.

“This book deals with the dilemma of am I still a man because this (rape) happened to me? It affected all of my relationships.. I tried self-harm, I tried so many things to not be on this planet … but I always had mentors and beautiful people who would pull me up and out of myself,”