One of the country's newest arts laureates, author Witi Ihimaera, is buying the remaining stock of his latest novel The Trowenna Sea after a plagiarism controversy.
Publisher Penguin Group (NZ) has also announced it is offering to take back stock from any bookseller who wishes to return the book.
Penguin said it planned to publish a new edition of The Trowenna Sea, next year.
The edition would contain a new section by the author explaining the background and making full acknowledgement to writers whose work had been drawn on.
"I have taken this step to preserve the mana and integrity of the novel," Ihimaera said.
"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."
The novel is set in Tasmania during the 1840s and details the lives of Maori transported there as convicts.
But The Whale Rider author has acknowledged some passages in the book were not credited.
In a written apology, Ihimaera said he had been working with Penguin to contact the authors whose work he did not acknowledge to apologise for the oversight.
Ihimaera said that less than 0.4 percent of the 528 page novel had been published without acknowledgement.
Penguin publishing director Geoff Walker said all writers of historical fiction drew to some extent on the work of historians and others, and this was to be expected.
"It is a long and accepted tradition that goes back to Shakespeare, but clearly Witi Ihimaera has taken this extraordinary step to show that he is actively engaged in resolving the issues involved."
Yesterday Ihimaera was named one of the Arts Foundation's laureates for 2009.
He was one of five artists to win the award, along with carver Lyonel Grant, musician Chris Knox, photographer Anne Noble and traditional Maori musical instruments guru Richard Nunns.
The award gives the recipients a $50,000 no-strings attached donation to celebrate their past achievements and invest in their future.
When accepting the laureate award yesterday, Ihimaera explained to Stuff.co.nz, the unacknowledged use of other authors' material in his book came about as he struggled to create a new form of fiction.
"I believe that what I am trying to do with The Trowenna Sea, which is a big novel, is something that is just a little bit different in terms of the genre of historic fiction.
"Normally with historic fiction what you get is a piece of work where history is treated as fiction. But with The Trowenna Sea, I have always tried to be on the cutting edge of fictional devices, what I have been attempting to do with that book is to create fiction as history. So I think what Trowenna Sea is, is the beginning of a hybrid book in which [you have] the problematics of acknowledgement of historical material and historical inspirations. Where you have non fiction writers traversing that area then they can use footnotes but fiction writers can't so I am having to try to figure out creative ways of addressing that and I think that what we will end up with is in fact a very, very exciting new approach to creating a framework to those new fictions."
"The first draft for instance was completely historical. With historical fiction what you traditionally get is the history as background but I wasn't happy with that because as a Maori writer detail is important to me and so therefore making sure that detail wasn't background but fully integrated into the whole novel itself is what I was attempting."
He said the controversy had helped him in the "continuing conversation that all writers must have about their craft and where they are going."
"What I like about it is that it has engaged me in issues of ownership of property, which I have now addressed and my publisher and I are working on addressing those in the second edition by making sure that all of the appropriate apologies have been made and that all of the acknowledgements and other inadvertent copying, all of that has also been addressed, so we are hoping that new edition will come out in 2010.'
He also said the controversy had made him stronger.
"I can tell you that controversy has only made me stronger I will be completing two more historical works of similar size and similar weight as The Trowenna Sea and then after that there is a book based in New York which I will be doing."
- NZPA and Stuff.co.nz