Witi Ihimaera (August 2006)

A brand new Inquisition this month, this time featuring one of our most celebrated and best New Zealand writers, and one of our favourite classical customers, Mr Witi Ihimaera.... 1: Your full name My writing name is Witi Ihimaera but I have a birth name that is only of interest to the family. Old friends from Army days call me Bill and there are a few people who still call me bastard from when I wasn't such a nice person. 2: Where do you call home? The place where I hang my hat is Auckland, you know, that city that Wellingtonians can't stand. In my defence I can tell you that I often tell people that I am a Wellingtonian who is not living in Wellington at the moment. Will this get me past Wellington Customs? 3: What is your favourite childhood memory? My favorite childhood memory? Well I had such a happy childhood that I can't pick one - but if I had to, it would probably be of biking with my schoolboy friends every Saturday to the Macrae Baths and, after having a swim, going to the 2 o'clock movies. The consequence is that I am the world's expert of bad B movies of the 1950s, particularly any to do with submarines, mermaids and undersea kingdoms. 4: What is your proudest accomplishment? I am most proud of being a good son, brother, father and friend. As for the rest, you know, the writing stuff, that's a bonus. 5: What is your favourite food? Bread and butter. Sometimes bread and butter with jam. Or bread and butter with peanut butter. Or bread and butter pudding. Even in the best restaurants, I will ask for bread and butter. I eat bread and butter with everything. 6: Your favourite holiday destination, and why? Anywhere there's a sun, a beach and a blue sea. Why? I'm an Aquarian, will that do? 7: What is the first piece of writing of yours that anyone who is unfamiliar with your work should read? This is a hard one. The very first piece of writing I ever had published was called "The Prodigal Daughter" in the Gisborne Boys High School magazine of 1961, I think. Find it and read it at your peril. 8: What's the last great film you saw? The last great film I saw was Kiss of the Dragon with Jet Li and Bridget Fonda. I am an action movie addict and anything by Luc Besson - and it doesn't have to be action oriented - is just fine by me. 9: And the last great record you heard? The last great record I heard? Well, from the ridiculous to the sublime: French singer Felia Litvinne, in a rare recital compact disc (Malibran Music) I sent for via eBay, singing Chimene's aria from Massenet's Le Cid.