Flanders to Rome

Nicola Sciascia
Family Pilgrimage 2007

Marina Sciascia


Marina Stirling Sciascia ( Ropiha )
Eldest of nine children: of Frank La Bassee Sciascia and Maymorn Allison Taylor ( Stirling)
Born: Waipukurau 19 /07 / 1942
Married : Hokowhitu David Ropiha, son of Ieni Ropiha and Ellen Ruta Sciascia, 15 th of 16 children.
Our children : Karl 1963, Earl 1964, Kim Ellen Maymorn 1967, Keri Victoria 1973.
Hendrix Te Hokowhitu Marsden -Ropiha, Paris Karl Masden-Ropiha, Kit Magenta Ropiha-Richardson.
Earl Te Ahurangi Steffert, Bradley Taumarie Steffert.
Forrest Annaliese Marina Ropiha.

Porangahau has been my home for all of my life even when I have lived in other places, my spiritual and physical nourishment has been from this small rural village in Central Hawkes Bay. Porangahau today is a much smaller community then the days of my childhood. In my 65thth year I am blessed still with Aunts and Uncles who provide the connections to the generation of my parents.

Our Sciascia connection was in my youth a romantic illusion, today I have grown a new appreciation and with that in mind I look forward to the family pilgrimage to Belgium and Italy.

In 1977 nine of us from Porangahau took a Pilgrimage tour of the Mediterranean with the 28 Maori Battalion around the War Graves of WW2. That gave me a sense of the loss we as Maori encountered from the death of so many potential leaders. At that time I had never considered what WW1 may have cost us as a people so to be able in 2007 to connect with the area of La Basseeville (from where our Dad got his name) to be able to stand in that land where his Uncle Charles was killed, will end an amazing journey. I am most thankful to Dominique for her efforts and diligence's in helping our family to complete this circle as we go to conduct the tikanga of our dead in this place.

I am also filled with gratitude to Diane Taylor and Angiola for their efforts to fill the gaps of our whakapapa and the blessed cycle that have evolved from their work. All this will contribute to our trip as we meet for the first time together as the descendants of the family of Carlo and xxxx. The five families we hope and pray will come together.

During our 1977 trip my husband had tried to leave the bus in Bari to search the streets to find an Italian Sciascia and I still remember his bitter disappointment when the bus driver refused to let him leave the tour party. I know that he would have been in the front seat for this journey and so I make mine with him and his Mother , my Dad, Uncles and Aunts plus our Grandfather in mind.

In 2007 I am retired after a most glamorous career coving many aspects of life, starting out as a housemaid and rouseabout and ending as an Arts administrator and Events Management Co ordination, having done a range of things since and in between.

Today in Porangahau, I offer support and advice to a range of hapu and Iwi activities, write, garden, walk on the beach, and do a little babysitting for the nieces and nephews as well as my Grandchildren. I am also on two Boards which allows me to participate in national activities in Hawkes Bay and Wellington.

I am lucky enough to have traveled widely across many parts of the world and look forward to sharing 3 weeks with family and friends on this our Sciascia Pilgrimage.

My daughter Kim is part of the tour group plus two brothers and sister in law.

I am disappointed none of my sisters can come this time, however three of them went on the 1997 trip. It is a privilege to have assisted Uncle Sonny and Piri in the planning and organization of this tour. But then as my Dad would say “the history hasn't been written yet”

Grandaughter Forrest with Takutai


Alan Sciascia © 2007 HomeCharlesTravel NewsItineraryParticipantsPhotosContactsWhakapapa

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