A Carved Cloak for Tahu
Starting with the building of Te Poho o Potiki, the central wharenui at Iwitea of Ngāi Tahu Matawhāiti, a hapū of Ngāti Kahungunu, A Carved Cloak for Tahu explores its taonga, the iwi and hapū 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 contemporaryy pressures, giving an overview of the industries in which hapū labour has worked (flax mills, farming, freezing works) and examining the exercise of hapū 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.
More about Mere Whaanga
The written account is visually enriched through photographs and maps. Connection to the past is evoked through the verses of waiata included to support the historical accounts. This is an accessible, readable piece of scholarly work uncluttered by academic speak or dense critical analysis. – Ngaire Rewarewa Wilson, New Zealand Journal of History