Piri Cowie was born and raised in Te Waipounamu, the South Island of New Zealand. Māori culture is the backbone of her art practice. Cowie has completed several public art commissions, for Te Rūnanga ō Ngāi Tahu, honouring tuna (eels), including seven bronze eels for Te Hononga, the Christchurch Civic building, and in 2013, Cowie designed shade sails that are now installed in a Māori garden at Les Jardins de Fruitiers de Laquenexy, near Metz, France.
Cowie further completed integrated art designs at Tākaro ā Poi, Margaret Mahy Family Playground, Christchurch, New Zealand. Her work has also been exhibited in many exhibitions in Aotearoa and internationally. Cowie has extended her art practice by attending International Indigenous Visual Artists Gatherings in New Zealand and the Northwest Coast of North America. She is a graduate of the University of Canterbury, School of Fine Arts New Zealand.