The Makutu on Mrs Jones


Resource Pack for:The Makutu on Mrs Jones by Witi Ihimaera.


Created by Morag McTaggart

Notes about the author – Witi Ihimaera

Witi Ihimaera (Witi Tame Ihimaera-Smiler) (1944 –), novelist, short story writer, was born in Gisborne. He has the distinction of being the first Māori writer to publish both a book of short stories and a novel. He is of Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki descent, with close affiliations to Tūhoe, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Kahungunu, and Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, and links to Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Porou, and Te Whakatōhea. His family marae is the family house of the Pere family, Rongopai, in Waituhi, near Gisborne. The extraordinary paintings, rather than carvings, decorating the meeting house’s interior, have been described in rich detail in his writing.


Much of Ihimaera’s fiction is based on fact, but his work is never simply autobiographical. Waituhi, for example, the village setting for many of his narratives, is an imaginative recreation of the actual place. Ihimaera spent three years at Te Karaka DHS and a year at the Mormon Church College at Tuhikaramea, Hamilton. He completed his University Entrance at Gisborne BHS and then attended Auckland University from 1963 to 1966.