Souvenir shops and street vendors all over Hawai’i carry them as shrunken and watered-down deities, and for some, they symbolize Hawai’i as much as beaches and lava lamps. Most are quaint relics now, like the bobbing hula girls in the rear window of a Chevy. But for Polynesians, they represented an ancient religion, one in which deities and nature warred with each other and with man, and commoners and kings alike would tremble with fear at their capriciousness and whims. Sophia Schweitzer draws on images from the late 1700s through today, dividing her narrative into three distinctive parts. Tiki of Hawai’i: A History of Gods and Dreams reveals a rich, colorful and entertaining picture of tiki–the kind of history which, for visitor and kama’aina alike, will leave memories and an understanding of our culture far deeper than that provided in souvenir shops.


Part One: Tiki of Old

  • And Then There was Tiki
  • New Islands, New Gods
  • The Kapu
  • The Heiau of Ku and Lono
  • Tiki Forms, Tiki Styles
  • The Fall of the Gods

Part Two: Tiki of America

  • Dreaming of a Hula Moon
  • Revival of a Tiki God
  • Don the Beachcomber
  • Tiki Food and Trader Vic
  • Waikiki Tiki in the Late 1950s and Early 1960s
  • Tiki Culture Collapses

Part Three: Tiki of Today

  • Something Tiki for Everyone—The Hawaiian Renaissance
  • Something Tiki for Everyone—The Tiki Pop Resurgence
  • Where to Find Kii or Heiau and Learn More about Ancient Hawaiian Religion
  • Shopping for Vintage Tiki, Tiki Collectibles, and All Things Tiki Pop

Author: Sophia V. Schweitzer