17 cases of plagiarism and still no action from Auckland University

November 20th, 2009 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The credibility of is seeping away, with their refusal to even use a wet bust ticket against faculty member . It has been revealed he also had at least one case of in The Matriach:

His comments follow further claims by Professor Keith Sorrenson, a University of Auckland emeritus history professor, that Ihimaera plagiarised his work in the award-winning novel The Matriarch and later apologised to him.

Professor Sorrenson says the latest plagiarism row – in which Professor Ihimaera has admitted using unattributed material from 16 other authors in his latest book, The Trowenna Sea – showed he had “learnt nothing” from the earlier incident.

I hope someone somewhere is running all his books through a checker. The defence we keep hearing is:

He has apologised for the “errors” but said the unacknowledged work in The Trowenna Sea was only 0.4 per cent of the 528-page book.

But that stat is ir-relevant. What is more important is that in the latest book he did it on at least 16 occasions from 16 authors. That is not an error.

On top of that we have the previous plagiarism, and it has been reported The Listener is going to reveal even more plagiarism in his latest book.

And none of this is enough to warrant even a wet bus ticket from Auckland University. They keep maintaining there is no evidence it was deliberate.

I would have thought the burden of proof would be to prove any plagiarism was an “error”. Certainly that is what students would have to do.

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45 Responses to “17 cases of plagiarism and still no action from Auckland University”

  1. Manolo (13,765 comments) says:

    I expect a press release from UN headquarters in New Yorking defending the unashamed plagiarist. Helen to the rescue.

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  2. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    To plagiarise Batfink.

    “His ethnicity and sexual orientation are like shields of steel”

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  3. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    As I said in General Debate this morning:

    It was interesting to hear Jolisa Gracewood on National Radio this morning. She said the 16 pieces of plagiarised work in Witi Ihimaera’s Trowenna Sea – which the author has been saying amount to only 0.4% of the work in an effort to dampen down the controversy – were only what she had identified when the issue of the Listener concerned went to press. She has subsequently found others, but didn’t say how many.

    I will read this week’s issue of the Listener with great interest. And I await the University of Auckland’s backflip on its so-far inadequate sanctioning of Ihimaera’s actions.

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  4. RRM (9,919 comments) says:

    Oh dear, it looks worse & worse.

    But there is only moral equivalence between plagiarism by staff and by students – nothing else. The students are trying to prove they deserve to receive degrees, Ihimaera is merely trying to sell books – and independently of his teaching activities.

    Should DPF censure one of his guest bloggers if they were caught pirating movies?

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  5. 2boyz (262 comments) says:

    Nothing to see here, please move along. Just another case of White Mother F**kers raced based bashing. For a start he should give the $50k back.

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  6. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Ihimaera is merely trying to sell books – and independently of his teaching activities.

    His position is “Distinguished Creative Fellow in Maori Literature” – he teaches people how to write. This stuff is not so independent of his teaching activities IMHO. In fact I would suggest that having that position is partially by virtue of his previous works.

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  7. Komata (1,191 comments) says:

    C’mon folks – we KNOW that Auckland Uni won’t do anything – the ‘good’ professor is MAORI and that puts him above absolutely everyone else in the country – especially those of European ancestry. . . (cue Hariwera e-mail reply) and if he can profit off the (Hariwera explitive deleted) colonials so much the better, since after all, te treaty guarantees equality, and, if you are Maori, SUPER-equality.

    IMHO, Orwell wasn’t so wrong after all.

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  8. Mr A (17 comments) says:

    “They keep maintaining there is no evidence it was deliberate.”

    Hahahahah. So if it wasn’t dliberate, how did it happen?

    Did his his hand slip all those times that he used COPY and PASTE?

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  9. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    …so wrong about what?

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  10. Yvette (2,819 comments) says:

    And I heard Hone had just hired Witi to ghost write his emails from now on – oops, whatabugger

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  11. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    The credibility of Auckland University is seeping away, with their refusal to even use a wet bust ticket against faculty member Witi Ihimaera.

    Possibly hoping for an early retirement gambit from Witi Ihimaera to save them from some trouble?

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  12. Deepatwork (1 comment) says:

    Interesting that he kissed the guy giving him the $50,000 rather than just shaking his hand. Is there an “in-crowd” to the business he’s in that greet each other differently?

    The UoA put me off rather when their theology dept declined me for a PhD entrance based on the fact I’m a “conservative Christian.” Needless to say Otago has no such prejudices.

    It should be noted, however, that the voices of dissent are coming from UoA. I think the folks that work there are just as dissatisfied at what’s going on or not going on as the case may be.

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  13. kelsey (29 comments) says:

    The herald quotes Witi:

    “Although I have already made the relevant apologies and have publicly undertaken to fully audit the book myself, it seemed appropriate to remove the first edition immediately and begin working on a corrected second edition.”

    Initially he said it was an error that he simply didn’t attribute. How he says he’s got to do an audit – i.e, find all offending passages. This means he doesn’t know them all – not a failure of attribution at all!

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  14. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    A black poofter academic. All that’s missing is Labour Party membership.

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  15. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    I’d like to know what would happen to a student at Auckland university if they had 16 cases of plagarism in their work..

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  16. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    These the same academics that have the ear of our government/ governments? These the same academics that preach social engineering from the pulpit?. These the same academics that advise on regulation/laws?. Way to go guys, my pet goat has more credibility and moral standing then you pack of tosspots.

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  17. RRM (9,919 comments) says:

    [Adolf Fiinkensein Says:] “A black poofter academic. All that’s missing is Labour Party membership.”

    [side show bob Says:] “the same academics that preach social engineering from the pulpit? …my pet goat has more credibility and moral standing…”

    [Yvette Says:] “And I heard Hone had just hired Witi to ghost write his emails from now on”

    [Komata Says:] “the ‘good’ professor is MAORI and that puts him above absolutely everyone else in the country – especially those of European ancestry”

    [Manolo Says:] “I expect a press release from UN headquarters in New York…”

    [Kris K Says:] “it’s only racist when a ‘white mofo’ says it”

    What a stupid thread. I’m off down the pub for some sensible analysis and discussion…

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  18. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Isn’t this just a case of reverse-plagarism?

    I mean, we all know about reverse racism – it’s only racist when a ‘white mofo’ says it; brown mofos are exempt because they’re the downtrodden minority. Let’s just hope he wasn’t quoting non referenced ‘white mofo’ material.

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  19. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Poor old RRM, maybe we are cutting close to the bone. Anyhow hope the Chardonnay gives you headache.

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  20. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Were a small amount of unattributed material to be discovered in a doctoral thesis, for example, the student would be required to rewrite the thesis with appropriate attribution— precisely the action Professor Ihimaera will be taking of his own volition.

    So says the Vice Chancellor.

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  21. Grant Michael McKenna (1,159 comments) says:

    If I gave Auckland $20,000 & photocopied someone else’s work, could I get a doctorate? Otago has this shit idea that I have to do ‘original research’.

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  22. Stuart Mackey (337 comments) says:

    Is this the same Auckland University that wrongfully sacked Dr Paul Buchanan over an email and is not saying boo over plagiarism? Whats that dripping I hear? Hypocrisy?

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  23. wreck1080 (3,908 comments) says:

    Plagiarism is to Literacy as drug cheats are to sports.

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  24. Komata (1,191 comments) says:

    Stuart McK

    No old chap – racism – but only because (gasp!) a whitey happened to notice it . .

    If it had been an individual with a suntan – no prob’ bro – sweet-as (Oh, kiaora Hone . . .)

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  25. GN (18 comments) says:

    MikeE,
    I am currently a postgraduate student at Auckland University, students get all the dire warnings on plagiarism and the consequences if they are caught- you sign a cover sheet for assignments stating the work is your own, on the penalty of expulsion, and giving the university the right to run your assignment through plagiarism checking software.

    Students who are working hard at their exams and theses right now are, shall we say, fucked off.

    One rule for students, another for staff who have right mates, check out the hypocrisy from the university web site:

    “Plagiarism
    Plagiarism involves taking another person’s ideas, words or inventions and presenting them as your own. Paraphrasing or rewording another person’s work, without acknowledging its source, is also plagiarism.

    In Western academic culture this is a totally unacceptable practice and considered a serious academic offence. There are heavy penalties, such as failing a course or even worse — being thrown out of university. See The University of Auckland’s guidelines on academic honesty and plagiarism.”

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  26. GMDI (70 comments) says:

    If i did that in my student days, and got caught, i would be at least of a particular paper with a DNC on academic record. the university code of conduct has a specific paragraph about plagiarism. how about enforcing the penalties stipulated. bloddy soft liberal academics.

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  27. 3-coil (1,219 comments) says:

    University of Auckland have reacted…and appointed Witi as their first official “Professor of Plagiarism”.

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  28. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    It is obviously wrong to misattribute. But why the hysteria? It is common for authors/columnists/bloggers/students/etc and academics in particular swap a few words around, and magically transform “plagiarism” into original work – no attribution needed. Witi’s mistake was failing to reach for the thesaurus.

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  29. scanner (340 comments) says:

    Sorry folks, he is untouchable on three counts as he is –
    1. black
    2. a shirt lifter
    3. Well inside the system
    Move along nothing to see here

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  30. Paul G. Buchanan (293 comments) says:

    I must confess to be utterly perplexed. Ihimaera plagerised more than once? And he has not received a single University reprimand? His latest apologies sufficed and they Uni did nothing?

    Shoot. I apologised the day after my intemperate email, long before it hit the press and two weeks before it came to the attention of the Dean. Yet I got frog-marched out of the place even though dozens of students asked for my return. Witi has not had a single student vouch for him. The University said that I damaged their reputation. What about Witi?

    I have to say that I am starting to think that there are, in fact, double (perhaps corporate as well as PC) standards at play. But it does seem clear the as far as the University is concerned, written procedures and rules with regards to disciplinary matters are not worth the paper they is written on. Given the corruption index ratings mentioned in another DPF post, it may be time to rethink how clean NZ (or at least NZ academia) really is.

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  31. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (852 comments) says:

    is this the university of auckland that pretends it is in the top 50 universities in the world.

    tut tut

    i guess the next ranking will be somewhat lower

    and there go the fee paying students

    and here come the others who just want a degree from the mill.

    my guess is there are going to be a lot of very angry alumni who are seeing their hard won qualifications trashed as the Dean and the VC tiptoe through the minefield of political correctness.

    will Witi fall on his sword? will he require a golden parachute? or will he be summarily dismissed – as would any student caught plagiarising their work?

    Or will being Maori, gay and part of the luvvy crowd make him inviolate?

    Guess the science, engineering and business schools are going to love watching those humanities wankers make a mockery of real academic work arent they?

    I have beer and popcorn, this is going to be fun.

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  32. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    A few elections ago, Joe Biden got drummed out of the presidential race for plagiarism.

    The University of Auckland has always had shocking policies on employment matters, and this is no exception, except it is the reverse of what you would expect.

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  33. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (852 comments) says:

    sorry Paul, while I never really agreed with most of your opinions, you are a white male, you were rude to a brown, fee paying woman, what did you expect?

    suck it up man, you simply failed to understand the dominant paradigm had shifted on you. As a commentator on strategic geopolitics your error, while understandable, suggests you failed Prac 101. You made the mistake of thinking you worked in a rational academic endeavour with clear guidelines. But you are merely one of the leading indicators – you should chat to Kit Richards about it.

    This is the New Zealand of the 21st century, we are going to see more and more of this crap “normalised”

    and before too long kiwis are going to notice they aren’t “quite” as popular as hires overseas… inexplicable really

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  34. Paul G. Buchanan (293 comments) says:

    Deity:

    You have at least some of that right: Since I got dismissed, 20 applications for jobs in NZ, OZ, the US, UK, SE Asia and Latin America all rejected because of the dismissal (and BTW, apologies for the grammatically incorrect “is” rather than “are” in the last comment (less Russellbaiter have a fit)). So yes, I did fail to understand the dominant paradigm, but to be honest, when I immigrated I thought that in a safe haven like NZ academia I would not be subjected to unethical or corrupt managerial practices. Uh, guess again.

    As my Kiwi wife regularly notes: “you got done.”

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  35. kiwi in america (2,449 comments) says:

    Brian is spot on. Ihimaera’s race and sexual orientation make him super duper PC and this more untouchable. Paul, regrettably nigel is right. Had you been a loud and well known radical lesbian feminist and sent an insensitive email, it would be put down as merely ‘robust debate’.

    It’s going to be delightful to watch the oh so PC humanities Deans (and higher up) be hoist by their own petard.

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  36. Flashman (184 comments) says:

    Maori, gay, connected to Maori royalty and a senior “academic” – this guy ticks all Auckland University’s boxes. But to be an absolute belt-and-braces PC salamander he needs a physical disability and a Labour Party membership card.

    Does this plagiarist attract taxpayer PBRF research funding to Auckland University for his “publishing” efforts? I bet he does.

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  37. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    I really cant get that worked up about this – I wouldn’t buy or read his books in any event. He’s said sorry and tried to make amends by buying the books back. Hardly an “A” issue.

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  38. Inventory2 (10,339 comments) says:

    It’s an apalling double standard from the University of Auckland, and in light on Paul Buchanan’s sackinmg for a far more trivial offence, the Dons deserve all the opprobrium being poured on them. But as others have noted, Ihimaera ticks many of the PC boxes, and is therefore above due process.

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  39. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (852 comments) says:

    Yeah Paul

    The crap you have had to put up with is amazing, and I wouldnt wish it on anybody.

    Have to say, you misjudged what you were coming into.

    NZ academia is a small, slightly warped deeply inbred offshoot of the breed, particularly in the Humanities. The occupants essentially know they are mediocre inmates of obscure provincial polytechs. But its a small gene pool, they gave each other tenure years ago, and are comfortably off, as long as noone points it out.

    But it does mean they are incredibly hostile to anyone who rocks the boat.

    And of course with the internet, and the “benefits” of technology, they have managed to poison you as a “risk”, and we all know how daring and risk taking closed societies are?

    You are better off out of that snakepit, you’re a smart bloke, you can do far better than be a drone in a degree mill.

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  40. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (852 comments) says:

    Greg its not about the rather weak books.

    Its about a Professor, at a University that purports to be the best in New Zealand, being found out as a serial cheat.

    And in the field of effort where he is expected to be providing leadership and guidance – individual creative expression.

    When found out, it suddenly appeared that the much vaunted “Academic Standards” TM became merely negotiable guidance.

    Hmmm.

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  41. Inventory2 (10,339 comments) says:

    deity (9.00am) – agree wholeheartedly. The fact that Prof Keith Sorenson has claimed that Ihimaera also plagarised HIS work in the 1980’s is concerning, and casts a pall over ther integrity of Ihimaera’s entire works. And yet the Arts Fopundation chooses to reward him with $50k.

    It’s a dreadful double-standard as Grant Michael McKenna noted yesterday afternoon:

    “If I gave Auckland $20,000 & photocopied someone else’s work, could I get a doctorate? Otago has this shit idea that I have to do ‘original research’.”

    I doubt that we have heard the last of this saga, and will be looking forward to next week’s Listener

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  42. kiwi in america (2,449 comments) says:

    Flashman
    Chances are high he has the Labour Party membership card. I never thought I’d ever say that I’m looking forward to a Listener article but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. To see a left leaning publication effectively destroy the credibility a major icon of left leaning academia is a marvellous sight to behold. Pass the popcorn and sit back and enjoy!

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  43. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    It would be interesting to see what the university and Witi’s response would be if someone plagiarised *his* work.

    The only problem with such a suggestion is that in plagiarising Witi’s work, there’s no guarantee that you wouldn’t actually be plagiarising someone else’s work as well (think about it).

    Those international corruption ratings are rubbish. I bet someone from NZ paid them a big wad of cash to give us a good score :-)

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  44. mjkidd (1 comment) says:

    Just before Witi went on Sabbitical (Aug 2006) wherein he “wrote” the offending work, I sent him a copy of my “The Sacred Wound of Australia” which details how Tasmanian Aborigines were rounded up in the 1830/40s and imprisoned on a island off Tasmania. I wonder where he got the idea for his book and whether he attribued it!! PS he never did review the book and interestingly never sent it back!!Funny that.
    Dr Michael Kidd http://www.kiddlegal.com

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  45. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “As my Kiwi wife regularly notes: “you got done.””

    If I had been Dean, I wouldn’t have fired you for your email Mr. Buchanan.

    I would have fired you for being a far left crazy.

    Naaah, its not “victimization”. I would have fired 95% of the staff for the same reason, and given the remainder a first warning.

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