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Three-time winner of the Wattie/Montana Book of the Year award, Katherine Mansfield fellow, and playwright Witi Ihimaera is one of New Zealands most accomplished writers. It is Witi Ihimaera's writing that also opened the door to his political career. When the then US Ambassador to New Zealand read a copy of Pounamu, Pounamu he passed it onto the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Norman Kirk. At Mr Kirk's request, Witi Ihimaera joined the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and served as a diplomat in Canberra, New York and Washington. His political career has been significant, he is a respected commentator on Maori, Pacific and indigenous peoples' affairs and has held such diverse roles as liaison officer for Black Power in Wellington. He has also been instrumental in ensuring the Maori art and literature is supported.