Pila Lavaka

Tiki carving is a four-generation tradition in Pila Lavaka’s family. His father, of Tongan descent, got him started in the craft when he was just a little boy. While the majority of Pila’s work showcases Polynesian tradition and culture, in select sculptures his creativity extends into more contemporary themes while still honoring his Tongan ancestry.

The expressions carved into the each tiki have specific meanings representing common human needs and desires. Hawaiian woods such as milo and monkeypod are the base of all carvings.


Tiki Expressions & Meanings

  • Mouth Open = Prosperity
  • Smile = Love and Happiness
  • Eyes Down = Good Luck
  • Eyes Up = Family Protection
  • Tongue Out = Scare Away Evil Spirits

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