Pa Ryan came to Aotearoa in 1954 after studying in England and Holland. He was sent by the Mill Hill Missionary Society of London, England, which has supplied priests and brothers for the Maori people since 1886. Learning Maori language and customs was always their priority and so he was asked to serve in parishes in Northland and among the Arawa of Rotorua and the Tainui people of Waikato. After seven years he took up a teaching post at Hato Petera College where he taught until 1976. He was then seconded to the Tamaki Maori Mission centred at Te Unga Waka, Epsom, where he is currently chaplain to the marae.