The Herald has yet another op-ed up about Witi Ihimaera’s plagerism: the irony (I’m sure others have already pointed this out but it merits repeating) is that one of the Herald’s regular columnists, Garth George, was recently caught red-handed plagiarizing a climate change denial web site; 37.5% of the material in his column was written by someone else. No action was taken by the Herald.
Personally I think Ihimaera’s ‘crime’ was trivial; as Mark Twain wrote: ‘immature writers borrow, mature writers steal’. I’m surprised Ihimaera didn’t play the post-modernist card and cheerfully admit that his novel is a text with multiple authors (and none) and that he was a mere redactor, although I respect him more for not taking that option. It’s what I would have said.
From my perspective the biggest fools in the game are Auckland University who responded to Gracewood’s Listener article by insisting that they’d investigated and found that the plagiarism was minor and unintentional; Gracewood subsequently published another story revealing even more extensive plagiarism. Must’ve been a hell of an investigation. I suspect it’s only a matter of time before someone scans Ihimaera’s back catalog onto disk, OCRs it and runs a search algorithm (the DimPost endorses sed) against google books. If the university is smart they’ll do this themselves and control the way the story breaks.