Havaiki Oceanic & Tribal Art – Hanalei, HI


In Hawaii, where cheap souvenir tikis can be found everywhere, Havaiki is a diamond in the rough. This Hanalei gallery, named after the legendary homeland of Polynesians, specializes in traditional art from the Oceania region and points beyond.


In 2002, Jim Punter and his wife, Vicki, left their home on the Virgin Islands and for five years sailed around the South Pacific, buying and trading for art directly with villagers. Their goal was to open a gallery on Kauai, which is overseen by Dylan Thomas, a native of South Africa who was first mate on that epic voyage. He’s a delight to talk with (especially with that accent!) and a wealth of information about the collection.


Some visitors compare browsing in the store to like being in a museum. I especially like the little room decorated like a hut with a bamboo and thatch entrance.


A wide array of items are for sale, including carved tikis of various sizes, war clubs, shields, masks, paddles, walking sticks and tapa cloth, plus handcrafted jewelry. They also have an online store and a Facebook page where they post photos of the latest acquisitions.


Dylan continues to make trips to the South Pacific to stock up on artifacts, but a growing part of the gallery’s wares come from local artists in Hawaii. In fact I’m quite sure that these tikis were made by the carver I saw over at the Westin Princeville.


A lot of work and care has been put into curating the selection, which is something to account for when looking at the prices. There are some budget buys among the big-ticket items, though.


If you find the island weather too humid and your shorts too constricting, you can purchase your own koteka, hand-woven from natural fibers by the Asmat people in Papua New Guinea. Just tie one of these “penis gourds” around your waist and you’re ready to go…or you could just display it in your house.


One of my favorite pieces was this modern reproduction of a Dayak Kliau (shield) from East Kalimantan, Borneo. The description says it would have been used against blowpipe attacks and the “curvilinear designs convey fierceness and preservation of vital energies.”


Havaiki Oceanic & Tribal Art is located among the stores in the Hanalei Center, conveniently just down the street from the Tahiti Nui tiki bar. The shop is not immediately visible from the highway — it’s in a cottage-like building behind Bubba’s Burgers. You should see a couple tikis mounted on tall poles signaling you’re headed in the right direction.


Havaiki Oceanic & Tribal Art
5-5161 Kuhio Hwy. (Hanalei Center)
Hanalei, Kauai, HI 96714

Related Posts:
Aloha from Hanalei, Ching Young Village Shops, Hanalei
Tiki Carver at the Westin Princeville, Kauai
Tahiti Nui Tiki Bar, Hanalei


Aloha from Hanalei – Ching Young Village Shops


While we were in Kauai we did some souvenir shopping in Hanalei, stopping first at Ching Young Village. On the other side of the highway are the Hanalei Center shops, including Havaiki Oceanic and Tribal Art and the vintage store Yellowfish Trading Company. (That area is more picturesque as the boutiques are housed in restored historic buildings.)


But Ching Young Village has its fair share of nice shops too, such as Hanalei Strings & Things (where Mr. Baseball bought me a uke!), Robin Savage Gifts & Gourmet, and the one I’m featuring in this post: Aloha from Hanalei.


The New York Times travel section included it in a great article from a couple years ago about shopping on Kauai, “Hawaiiana, Beyond the Hula Doll.” Aloha from Hanalei has a cozy tiki hut vibe with bamboo, thatch and surfboards on the walls, plus a few tikis and run-of-the-mill tiki masks.


You’ll find an interesting and varied selection of wares, from locally made soaps to Hawaiian salt and spices to vintage aloha shirts to framed Hawaiiana sheet music like “Drowsy Honolulu Moonlight.” Like several other stores we visited, they also stocked typical tiki items like salt and pepper shakers, magnets and figurines.


The purple Ku on this tiki photo album was on the cusp of what I’d classify as an ugly tiki, but I liked the natural materials on the cover. I don’t recall seeing this particular tiki scrapbook before, but there are somewhat similar ones for sale on Amazon.


I was also pleased to see they sell tiki postcards from Brad Parker a.k.a. Tiki Shark, who resides in Kailua-Kona. (I’ve mentioned his awesome “Monsters on Vacation” paintings on this blog before, and he just had another show at La Luz de Jesus gallery that I’ll be writing about at some point.)


We were staying nearby in Princeville, so we had a few opportunities to hang out in Hanalei and do the tourist stroll. But if you have limited time on the North Shore, your two must-dos should be browsing at Havaiki Oceanic and Tribal Art and drinking at Tahiti Nui. (More on them soon.)


Why did the wild chicken cross the road? To get to Havaiki!

Aloha from Hanalei
Ching Young Village
5-5190 Kuhio Hwy.
Hanalei, HI 96714

Tiki Carver at The Westin Princeville – Kauai


Blame my sporadic posting on an especially jet-setting July. We just got back from New York, but earlier this month we were lucky enough to spend a week in Hawaii on the island of Kaua’i.


Even looking back at my own photos I can hardly believe how beautiful it was. From the Kalalau Valley (above) and the Na Pali Coast to Waimea Canyon to Hanalei Bay, the landscape was so varied and breathtaking.


I knew there would be some tiki sightings on the trip, but I hadn’t expected them to start with the resort we were staying at. Everyday a couple local vendors would set up by the plantation-style main building of The Westin Princeville, and on our first day there happened to be a tiki carver.


He was mostly whittling away, much to the fascination of passing children, but I thought it was an interesting juxtaposition when he started working on his iPad. In addition to tikis in many sizes, he also had carvings of turtles, whales, an octopus and other sea creatures.


An intricately detailed (and heavy!) war club with rope and feathers caught my eye, but I decided to think about it instead of purchasing it on the spot. Of course, when I came back the next day he had already sold it. I later saw some of his carvings for sale at Havaiki Oceanic and Tribal Art, but more on that soon.