Polynesian Tiki

Maui Tiki

Most hotels or luau grounds have a tiki statue. We took the photo above at the Old Lahaina Luau in Maui. These wood carvings can look pretty intimidating. They are supposed to represent the gods and ancestors. They were usually placed at entrances of temples and sacred places. You can see authentic carved ki’is (the Hawaiian word for these carved scupltures) on the Big Island at the Place of Refuge.

About Sheila Beal

Sheila Beal is the founder and editor of Go Visit Hawaii. You can connect with Sheila Beal on Twitter, Go Visit Hawaii on Facebook, or Sheila Beal on Google+.


  1. Pssst, Sheila. In Hawaiian culture/language the traditional carved figures like the ones at the Place of Refuge and other heiau are called Ki’i. In Tahitian they’re called Ti’i (no “k”). Tiki actually is a Marquesan word, if I remember correctly.

    But yeah, I’ll bet all of the ones at hotel luaus and in souvenir shops are called Tikis! ;-}


  2. Thanks for that clarification.

  3. We were just in Maui and I have the same photo but this Ki’i is actually at Mama’s Fish House, not the Old Lahaina Luau. (We were at both places)

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