Right. You seem to have stopped talking about the award whatsoever. You realise that you've already published a bunch of articles on this amazing find, right? What is interesting about this particular article is that almost every paragraph feels the need to stick the knife in by mentioning or alluding to the 'controversy'. It's reasonably long, but let's look through it:
Author Witi Ihimaera was last night presented with a prestigious arts award and a $50,000 prize - a week after he was caught up in a plagiarism row.
The writer of Whale Rider was embarrassed by revelations that his latest novel, The Trowenna Sea, contains passages by other authors without attribution.
He apologised for the oversight, which he said amounted to less than 0.4 per cent of what had been published, and promised any future editions of the book would include proper acknowledgments.
Anyone would think that the New Zealand Herald didn't regularly plagiarise press releases from, say, the BNZ or TVNZ. Like I said, this article was on the front page, but another similar, but more bitter, article didn't make the print edition and can be found online: "Exposed plagiarist [!] Witi Ihimaera given $50,000 award". Sorry Witi, you're no longer an author; you're an exposed plagiarist.
Despite the controversy, he has been named a laureate by the Arts Foundation. The honour comes with a cheque for $50,000.
Carver Lyonel Grant, musicians Chris Knox and Richard Nunns and photographer Anne Noble were also named laureates at last night's awards ceremony at the ASB Showgrounds in Greenlane.
Ihimaera made no specific mention of the scandal, but in as [sic, facepalm] speech that lasted about 10 minutes alluded to the furore.
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"I would rather be someone else this week. Any of you are welcome to be Witi Ihimaera."
Yesterday, Arts Foundation executive director Simon Bowden defended the selection of Ihimaera so soon after the controversy.
"The award itself is for a lifetime of work and is an investment in someone's future ... He's an extraordinary artist."
Mr Bowden accepted the plagiarism was a "serious matter" but said Ihimaera was trying to make things right "as much as he can".
Ihimaera had told the foundation of the plagiarism claim before it became public and it did generate discussion among the selectors.
However, Mr Bowden said those things weren't enough to change their minds because Ihimaera was an artist whose writing had been enjoyed by generations. Though Mr Bowden had had only positive reaction from those he had spoken to about the issue, he accepted there could be some adverse feedback from the arts community. He believed most would congratulate the Arts Foundation on carrying on with the award.
Ihimaera said he hoped the plagiarism issue wouldn't overshadow the award.
"I take the long view ... that every author goes through a controversy at one part of their career. I do believe my entire career models the best ethical behaviour that is required of all artists in New Zealand."
He was grateful for the support he'd received from the foundation which would help him move past the controversy. He apologised again to those he failed to acknowledge, which was "inadvertent and regretful".
He planned to use the $50,000 prize to support himself while he wrote more historical novels - including a follow-up to The Trowenna Sea and another novel set in New York. He is retiring from his position as a professor at Auckland University next year.
Ihimaera said he had been unsure if he should accept the award because he didn't think he was good enough, but was "honoured and humbled" by it.
Prominent New Zealand author Witi Ihimaera has been named an Arts Foundation laureate and will receive a no-strings-attached $50,000 to spend as he pleases.Jesus. "No-strings-attached"? "To spend as he pleases"? Unconscionable! You mean he doesn't even have to promise not to plagiarise anymore? And to add insult to injury, he doesn't even have to spend the money on subscriptions to APN publications? APN publications, that is, such as the Listener, a magazine that used to be an interesting and progressive read but is now almost entirely dedicated to stories about house prices and where to send your kids to school. (St Cuths or Dio? Oh dear.) Funnily enough, it's also the magazine which 'broke' the news of Ihimaera's borrowing of small passages without attribution. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that not only is the award criticised in a front page article, but also in today's editorial - "Top award for Ihimaera is embarrassing":
Oh, did we mention that it was discovered by Jolisa Gracewood? From the Listener? The amazing thing is, despite this award being such an "embarrassment", the Herald have seemingly failed to find a single figure from the New Zealand arts world to quote from who will say they are embarrassed by it. Anyone? It's almost as if... no one else cares.
The Arts Foundation of New Zealand has created an embarrassment with one of its five "laureate" awards last night. Doubtless the decision to make one of the $50,000 awards to writer Witi Ihimaera was made long before his latest novel was found to include at least 16 unattributed passages that appear to be substantially the work of others.
Doubtless, too, the selection panel operates at arm's length from the foundation set up to assist and promote cultural achievement of the highest quality in this country. But in the week since a reviewer's concerns were reported by the New Zealand Listener, somebody at the foundation should have intervened.
[...] Those who put him in this position have questions to answer. The selection panel consisted of Elizabeth Ellis, Jenny Harper, Derek Lardelli and two writers, Bill Manhire and Grant Smithies. Did they read the book? Did they miss the stylistic oddities that alerted the Listener's Jolisa Gracewood? Do they think her revelations unimportant?
Plagiarism isn't cool. As a former pseudo-academic (aka student) myself, I worked long and hard to produce my own material and blah blah blah. But it's not like he plagiarised a whole book, and it's not like the award has anything to do with the work in question. So get over it.
I was thinking last week how lucky Rodney Hide was that Hone Harawira magnificently exploded into the news. Now I can't help but think how lucky Harawira is that Witi Ihimaera won $50,000. It's all just a giant merry-go-round - or, if you prefer, a tag-team wrestling match where the wrestlers are constantly tagging in and out, all avoiding that final, match-ending hold that they may or may not deserve.