Pounamu Pounamu is classic Ihimaera and also classic New Zealand literature. First published in 1972, it was his first book, which as he says in his new introduction 'fulfilled a childhood vow: to write about Maori using his own self and home place'. The vivid stories in this collection not only explore but also celebrate what it is to be a New Zealander, and they do so from a lively Maori perspective.
The seeds of Ihimaera's later works were first sown in this ground-breaking collection: The Whale Rider in his story 'The Whale'; The Rope of Man in 'Tangi'; and the character of Simeon from Bulibasha, King of the Gypsies in 'One Summer Morning'. The book also covers the themes of aroha (love), whanaungatanga (kinship) and manaakitanga (supporting each other), which are so integral to Ihimaera's work.