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On Witi Ihimaera’s His First Ball

Categories Book Review, Books And Reading, Independence, Literature

Essay, Pages 3 (735 words)



Essay, Pages 3 (735 words)

His fiction’s initial purpose, ‘to establish and describe the emotional landscape of the Maori people’, suddenly seemed to him less important than describing the political and social reality, as described by the Book Council of New Zealand Writers. Witi Tame Ihimaera, short-story writer, editor, novelist, playwright, opera librettist, and anthologist, is one of those I highly regard who maintains himself with considerable talent as one of the world’s most celebrated literary figures in his time.

His fearlessness in publishing artistic expressions has earned my esteemed approbation.

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Not only because he held the distinction of being the first Maori writer to have published both a novel and a book of short stories, but because his boldness in writing internationally criticized but acclaimed Dear Miss Mansfield (1989), his Maori response for the often mocked icon Katherine Mansfield (1888–1923), has soared new heights in his significantly changing direction in writing, which have been influenced throughout changes in actual settings.

The Maori began to demand for sovereignty

Take for example, when the Maori began to demand for sovereignty in the 1970s, Ihimaera began a new legacy in his period.

The renowned writer perceived himself not as European, but as Maori in the forever changing world. Although much of his fiction have been factually based on some Waituhi culture and history, these were never autobiographical, which gives me more reason to acclaim the writer for having generated imagery creative enough to make him the only author to receive the Montana Book of the year award three times.

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Being from the Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki descent, Ihimaera’s marae family house the Pere and Rongopai families near Gisborne in New Zealand. This meeting house was said to have remarkable paintings as interiors and are flatteringly factored in his works. Richly detailed writing established the author’s facility to go in-depth of wholly original manifestations, such as in Nights in the Garden of Spain (1996), a gay novel centering on his sexuality, which attempted to keep faith with both his gay and Maori audiences while focusing on conflict and reconciliation, pooled with heroic, tragic, and political subplots.

On Witi Ihimaera’s His First Ball 2

His First Ball, from Dear Miss Mansfield’s thirteen stories, is Ihimaera’s narrative response to the original Her First Ball, by Katherine Mansfield, which is not in any way related to Maori peoples’ culture, but possibly, unknowingly, to a modern Maori society. While the language in the latter uses that of aristocratic British, His First Ball used seemingly perfect colloquial language.

Coral, Tuta Wharepapa’s mother, teases a great deal in his son having received this mystery letter in an envelope bearing a very imposing insignia of the government house, “Oh, tutu…if you ore gooing pahst government howse please convay may regahrds to—“ and then laughed. I cannot settle that Ihimaera crafted a parody from the original work; rather, an odd tribute perhaps. Emphasizing on class, language and colonialism of his ‘social betters’ does not conclude a spoof.

The Tailor’s comments on Tutu’s built

Take for example, the tailor’s comments on Tutu’s built: Your shoulders are too wide, your hips too large, you have shorter legs than you should have but Hmmmmmm…. and he painted his brown shoes black. The typical feature of Maori peoples compared with the features of a typical Englishman is cautiously written by drawing attention on Maori physical characteristics. Again, Ihimaera openly dwelled on his sexuality through Tuta’s transvestite friends who were not much help in teaching Tutu how to dance– Alexis Dynamite, Desiree Dawn, and Chantelle Derrier.

The relevance of these characters contributed to the story’s charm and hilarity (an aspect not seen in original Mansfield works) increasing the diversity of readers. For his wit and dance steps that evening, he put on a jolly good show¬, realizing that he has become an entertainment object, in all probability underlining on the inferiority of Tutu being the only Maori present. The conflict descriptively written as the reader notices that his smile becomes dangerous.

But then his ‘savior’ I describe, is that of a woman named Joyce over six-feet tall and his ‘dangerous smile’ became awe. Together they dance on their first ball with the oh-so-mean-saxophone solo. On Witi Ihimaera’s His First Ball II


  1. Millar, P. 2006, New Zealand Book Council [web page] http://www. bookcouncil. org. nz/writers/ihimaerawiti. html, date accessed: 14. December 2006.
  2. Williams, M. 2005, The Maori Renaissance [web page] http://www. ucalgary. ca/UofC/eduweb/engl392/492/williams. html, date accessed: 12 December 20

Cite this essay

On Witi Ihimaera’s His First Ball. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/witi-ihimaeras-first-ball-584-new-essay

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