Piri Ngarangikaunuhia John Sciascia

Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu

1946 -

Piri Ngarangikaunuhia was born at Porangahau and attended Porangahau Primary School and Te Aute College. He studied at Otago University from 1966-72, graduating with a B.Sc in 1968 and a B.A. in 1971. In 1977 he graduated from Victoria University with B.A. (Hons) and in 1981 was awarded a Dip. Tchg. Sciascia has worked as a lecturer in Māori Studies at Palmerston North College of Education and as a Director of the Māori and South Pacific Arts Council. He was appointed Assistant Director-General at the Department of Conservation in 1989. He writes for young Māori and hopes to follow up Aue He Atua with another story on the building of the waka, Tamatea Ariki Nui. He has written numerous waiata-a-ringa, waiata tawhito, waiata koaea and haka for Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāi Tahu. He assisted in the production of the Bateman New Zealand Historical Atlas/Ko Papatuanuku e Takoto Nei. 1997.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence with Sciascia 18 Nov. 1992, and 15 July 1998.


  • "Nga Tukemata - Nga Taonga O Ngāti Kahungunu." Caleb Matai [sic] Tu Tangata 32 (Oct./Nov. 1986): 14-16.
  • In this audiovisual presentation text Caleb Maitai writes of the collection of some fifty Ngāti Kahungunu taonga which were displayed in "Nga Tukemata - Nga Taonga O Ngāti Kahungunu" exhibition held at the Hawke’s Bay Art Gallery and Museum in Napier and reproduces Piri Sciascia’s account of the history of the Kahungunu written for the audiovisual presentation accompanying the exhibition. This audiovisual text gives an introduction to the Ngāti Kahungunu people and a study of key areas which gave a unique contribution to Kahungunu art: Tauranga, Wairoa, Heretaunga, and Te Taiwhakarunga.
  • Non-fiction

  • "Ka Pu Te Ruha, Ka Hao Te Rangatahi/As The Old Net Piles Upon Shore, The New Net Goes Fishing." Te Māori: Māori Art from New Zealand Collections. Ed. Sidney Moko Mead. Rev. ed. [Auckland, N.Z.]: Heinemann in association with the American Federation of Arts, c. 1984. 156-166. Rpt. 1985.
  • Sciascia provides a comprehensive essay on the developments within Māoridom from the late 19th century to the present day. He notes instrumental Māori figures in the philosophical areas, visual and performing arts and in politics, and writes of the challenges facing Māori in this era. He discusses the renaissance of Māoritanga in the arts and the role of Māori artists in contemporary society.
  • "Te Atua, Henare ?-1912." The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Vol. 3: 1901-1920. Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland UP; Bridget Williams Books; Dept. of Internal Affairs, 1996. 506-507.
  • Co-authored with Angela Ballara.
  • Other

  • "He Waiata Kori (Nā Paraire Tōmoana o Ngāti Kahungunu Ki Heretaunga)." Te Paanui: a Wikitoria. 2. Ed. W. Parker and J. Malcolm. Wellington, N.Z.: [Victoria University], 1979. 36-40.
  • Aue, He Atua! Te Wharekura 33. Whanganui-a-Tara [Wellington]: Te Pou Taki Kōrero, Te Tahuhu o te Matauranga, 1991. Wellington, N.Z.: Learning Media, Ministry of Education, 1991.
  • Māori language text with nga kupu whakamarama/word list.
  • Traditional

  • "He Poroporoaki ki a Hoani Tangiora." Tu Tangata 33 (Dec 86/Jan 87): 41.
  • A poroporoaki for Hoani Tangiora written in Māori.


  • Bieringa, Jan. AGMANZ Journal 17.3 (1986): 9-11.
  • Sciascia discusses with Jan Bieringa the impact of Te Māori in terms of giving new recognition to Māori taonga and he describes the process of finding and gifting greenstone to museums housing the exhibition.
  • Harawira, Wena, Caleb Maitai and Lee Umbers. "Tattoos Are Back." Mana 2 (Apr./May 1993): 4-11.
  • "Piri Joins Department of Conservation." Te Iwi o Aotearoa 28 (Dec. 1989): 11.
  • Stewart, Stephen. "Māori Appointed To Key Conservation Job." Evening Post 10 Aug. 1989: 4.
  • "Farewells." Arts Times 17 (Summer 1989): 8-9.
  • This article notes the departure of Sciascia as Director of the Council for Māori and South Pacific Arts to become Assistant Director General for Māori Perspectives and Iwi Liaison at the Department of Conservation.