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.

  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. 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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