What Does Tiki Mean in Hawaiian?

Tiki on the island of O’ahu | Asia visions photography

Aloha! If you’ve ever visited the beautiful islands of Hawaii or have an interest in Hawaiian culture, you might have come across the term “tiki” at some point. But what does tiki mean in Hawaiian? Well, let me tell you, tiki is a term that holds great significance in Hawaiian culture and traditions.

In short, tiki refers to a carved wooden or stone figure that represents a human-like figure or deity in Polynesian mythology. These figures are often depicted with large heads, broad noses, and prominent eyes, and are believed to have spiritual powers that protect their owners from harm. Tiki statues are found all over the islands of Hawaii, and they are considered to be an important part of Hawaiian culture and history.

The word tiki itself comes from the Maori language, which is spoken in New Zealand. The Maori people are also Polynesian, and their culture has many similarities to Hawaiian culture. In fact, the tiki figures found in Hawaii are believed to have originated in New Zealand and were brought to Hawaii by Polynesian explorers.

In Hawaiian culture, tiki statues are often associated with the god Ku, who is known as the god of war and the creator of life. Ku is also associated with strength, power, and masculinity, and the tiki statues that represent him are often depicted with fierce expressions and muscular bodies. Other tiki statues are associated with different gods and goddesses, such as Lono, the god of fertility and agriculture, and Kane, the god of creation and life.

In conclusion, the term tiki has a deep and rich history in Hawaiian culture, and these carved figures are an important part of the island’s traditions and mythology. Whether you’re a tourist visiting Hawaii or a local who loves the island’s culture and history, understanding the meaning behind the tiki statues you see can help you appreciate their beauty and significance even more. So the next time you come across a tiki statue in Hawaii, remember that it represents much more than just a piece of art – it represents a rich and vibrant culture that has been passed down through generations.