Academic gave Maori art global platform


An academic whose work has helped showcase Maori art in a "global scene" planned to celebrate his Queen's Birthday honour with his family in Porangahau at the weekend.

Professor Piri John Sciascia was made an Officer of the Order of New Zealand for services to Maori arts. He is the pro vice-chancellor Maori at Victoria University and has been involved in the promotion and conservation of Maori arts and culture since the 1970s.

He lives in Porirua but his tribal affiliations include Ngati Kahungunu and his whanau links are well known with Porangahau in Central Hawke's Bay.

Professor Sciascia administered the successful Te Maori exhibition, which opened in New York in 1984 and toured the US.

"At Victoria we have got fantastic visuals for new marketing and branding, reaching out to young Maori artists, and that is a huge step forward. We are part of a global scene, Maori art is part of New Zealand's identity, adding some powerful elements as we as a nation deal with global marketing. Thinking about it now, I am finding the whole Te Maori exhibition from way back is still proving to be quite a watershed as we go forward."

Professor Sciascia has been a member of curatorial committees for various regional, national and international exhibitions and chairman of the Te Maori Manaaki Taonga Trust. He has contributed to numerous national and iwi boards. He has been involved in Maori performing arts for more than 40 years as a performer, composer, tutor, adviser, and leader.

Professor Sciascia said there were so many other people involved in the arts who deserved the same recognition as his honour afforded. "That first thing I thought of was my fellow workers around the country and the next thought was that I am glad Maori art is being recognised as something important."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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