Starting with the building of Te Poho o Potiki, the central wharenui at Iwitea of Ngai Tahu Matawhaiti, a hapu of Ngati Kahungunu, A Carved Cloak for Tahu explores its taonga, the iwi and hapu identities represented in its waiata, stories and carvings, its colonial history including experience with the Native Land Court and the religions to which the people have adhered, particularly Te Kohititanga Marama. Whaanga also investigates issues of cultural identity and contemporary pressures, giving an overview of the industries in which hapu labour has worked (flax mills, farming, freezing works) and examining the exercise of hapu affiliations. She describes the strengthening of cultural identity that occurs when people gather to discuss concerns such as environmental and resource management and the impact of new industry on their area (e.g. proposals to drill for gas). Though focused on a small area in northern Hawke's Bay, this story has relevance for many other iwi and will have wide appeal.