His response comes swiftly. He is apologetic to all parties. During an ensuing interview with him and Geoff Walker, publishing director of Penguin New Zealand, under whose Raupo imprint The Trowenna Sea was released, Ihimaera says he is “horrified” about his “errors”.An open and shut case, one would have thought: the Professor was caught, bang to rights. And to his credit, he admitted that it was a fair cop (Guv). Yet the University wallows in the fiction section, feigning concern and saying assurances have been made; in short, talking bollocks.
It is not that I dislike Witi Ihimaera. I think him a great writer, and he seems to be a nice chap. I have a little list of authors I would like to see disgraced, but he is not on it. It is a great shame that he did it, but creditable that he owned up. Unfortunately, the University of which both he and I are members seems to think the matter is nothing but an embarrassment, so it pretends nothing is amiss.
I could go on and on about this, referencing the unfortunate Bruce Logan and that ghastly turd Greg Fleming, but you would have heard it all before. Instead, I wrote to the Dean of Arts, Associate Professor Jan Crosthwaite, in the following terms
I write as a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History. I would like you to know how deeply disappointed I feel about the Faculty's decision to take no action about the plagiarism committed by Professor Witi Ihimaera. The facts of the matter are clear: he committed plagiarism by using the words of other writers without acknowledgment. He has admitted that he committed plagiarism. Yet the Faculty can find no fault and calls the Professor's plagiarism an "oversight." I very much doubt that a student would be treated so leniently.
The Faculty, and thus the University, has shown itself to have no moral integrity in this matter. We are told constantly that plagiarism is a serious matter, yet when a member of the academic staff is found to have committed it, the University pretends that nothing is wrong. Frankly, I am ashamed to be a member of this University.