20 Jan 2020

Remembering Piri Sciascia, a true gentleman

From Morning Report, 8:53 am on 20 January 2020

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Professor Piri Sciascia has died aged 73.

Of Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāi Tahu and Italian descent he was Deputy Vice Chancellor - Māori at Wellington's Victoria University until 2016.

He was the kaumatua and advisor to the Governor-General and a key figure guiding and standing alongside the royals, heads of state and other dignitaries visiting Aotearoa.

Professor Sciascia was also an artist, composer and performer, as well as being the driving force behind the exhibtion "Te Māori" in 1984.

In 2016 he told Kim Hill that unlikely as it might sound, the New Zealand Māori theatre trust played a key role in setting the tone for modern competitive kapa haka.

He was among those who went on tour with the theatre trust as youngsters, and then turned their attention, and the lessons they'd learned, to kapa haka.

Professor Rawinia Higgins from Victoria University is in Hawke's Bay for the tangi.

She speaks to Corin Dann.