Flanders to Rome

Nicola Sciascia
Family Pilgrimage 2007

Lydia Louisa Sciascia


Lucy, as she was known by, was the fifth child born to Nicolas Sciascia and Riria McGregor at Kaipara Heads on the 21st August 1888. She was in her tenth year when her father a Light House Keeper was tragically killed by a bull on Portland Island. She remembered the time spent at Pencarrow Lighthouse as the closest they had lived to civilisation. Her eldest brother Jack, use to ride a horse to Petone once a month to collect the mail and when they needed supplies. After her father’s death, and on their return to her mother’s people at Koputaroa, the family had to make some great adjustments to their new life styles. Their mother had to make a living for the family out of the ground, so some of the younger members of the family were sent to live with relations. Lucy was made to finish school so she could help raise her youngest sister Pirihira Waikawa (Tutu).

She married Poutu McGregor and they produced eighteen children, fourteen of which grew to adult hood. Besides her own children she fostered her younger brother in laws children, after the death of their mother, various nieces and nephews, and lastly her own granddaughter Maureen Hippolite who was sixteen years old when Lucy passed away aged seventy one years old.

Lucy’s early days were spent at Koputaroa, Foxton, Opiki and later Nelson. In the early 1950s she returned to Koputaroa. A new house was built through the Maori Affairs for her by her nephews, Sciascia Brothers Limited. Her son Jack McGregor eventually brought this home and lived there for some time until his passing.  His son Walter now lives there. Poutu enlisted in the Army in the First World War and along with Lucy’s two brothers Jack and Charlie, Poutu’s brother Moses, and Aunty Tutu’s husband Wally Wakefield, they were to spend the duration of the war at the front.

Through the insistence of Lucy’s eldest sister Maggie, Poutu and Lucy were legally married on the same day as her sister Tutu. Maggie advised Lucy to this way of thinking for her own good, as she pointed out that as Lucy had eight children at the time she needed some security for herself and the children, should Poutu decide not to return after the war to his responsibilities.

A hard working woman she seemed to be forever cooking, washing or chopping wood. Her greatest pleasure was gardening, both vegetables and flowers. She much preferred outdoor work to housework, however cleanliness seemed to run in the Sciascia family and Lucy was no exception. Although she had a large family, and clothing was scarce, there was no reason for her children to attend school or church untidy. She sewed quite expertly, making a lot of the girl’s underwear from flour bags. She cut down and made overclothes for the boys from bags of clothes given to her. Lucy was not a wasteful person, whether with clothes or food she would make the best of what she had. Lucy was quite good at embroidery, and was a founding member of the Takihiku Maori Women’s Welfare League.

A Christian woman, Lucy never drank, but smoked sometimes during her lifetime. A Wesleyan Minister at Kaipara christened her, as there was no Anglican Minister in service there at the time, but she always considered herself an Anglican and was eventually confirmed into the Church many years later. She always made her children respect the Sabbath, even the youngest of eighteen remembers well and has a scar to prove it, that Sundays was a day of quiet and rest. Granny Riria spent much of her time staying either with Lucy at Koputaroa or with her youngest daughter Tutu at Porangahau.

At this time Lucy has one surviving daughter left, the youngest of the eighteen, Lydia Puaia Tunoho (named after her grandmother).

Alan Sciascia © 2007 HomeCharlesTravel NewsItineraryParticipantsPhotosContactsWhakapapa

Nicola's and Riria's portrait images kindly scanned and edited by Diane Taylor
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