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Kahiki Big Moai Rebirth

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I thought I would show how the repair of one of the two big moai that stood
out front of the Kahiki goes.
This is the left one.

I do not think I will be done until spring.

First we had to get it home.

Thanks Andy, Having a friend with a crane is useful.

[ Edited by: tikiskip 2007-02-08 18:50 ]


Are you kidding me?!!?!?!???!?

If I read this right, I'm going to need to schedule a Columbus trip sooner rather than later.

You, 'grand poobah' have simply outdone yourself!


Now we need to do some welding.

They were pretty beat up!

Now I need to bend some rebar. And wire into place.
Until I get the welders out again.

[ Edited by: tikiskip 2007-02-08 18:55 ]


SKIP, you've got a big job ahead of you but it will be so worth it when finished. Congrats on making one HUGE save of a vintage tiki. I'm cheering you from 4 states away my friend. Keep those photos coming!


woaw, that's a big souvenir from the Kahiki you'll have home...congratulation

Awesome !!!!

Maybe you should leave a small opening at the bottom. Then, when it is completed and standing upright, a few tiki-philes could crawl inside with their mai-tais, and soak in the energy of a giant Moai ... or plan the demise of your secret anti-tiki arch-enemy

Or even better, place a small bar inside -- that would give new meaning to the term 'rebar'

Things you should not do with the Moai

  • straighten the nose a bit, like they do on Nip/Tuck
  • paint it pink for Easter.
  • use it to store fireworks - unless you really do want to see a Moai in Space
  • crack it up into smaller pieces and pave your driveway with the material

Seriously, good luck with the refurbishing.


WOW!! :o

Thanks for documenting this skip!! It is truly a momentus occasion.

Cheers and Mahalo,


When you get it upright, I'll bring a bottle of Bacardi 151 and we can use that to relight the flame...

A formidable deed! This lifts the header "Collecting Tiki" on a whole new level. Looks like I am not gonna have the biggest any longer.:)

On 2006-09-26 07:04, bigbrotiki wrote:
Looks like I am not gonna have the biggest any longer.:)
I'm straining soooo hard to let that one go....

Vern, hilARIOUS suggestions! :lol:

Tikiskip, that is the BEST thing I have seen a tikiphile do it YEARS.
Thank you for the money, the labor, the time, the love - we all truly benefit by your work.

Proud to have seen them still standing in situ,

Before I get to far on renovation I thought I should show the before shots.

[ Edited by: tikiskip 2007-02-08 19:01 ]

Sending good thoughts and gratitude your way.

Do you have back story on how you procured this piece of Tiki Magic?

Ok here It is. I got a PM From Hula Cat here on TC. They said they were writing a book on the Kahiki. They saw my thread on TC about the Kahiki and thought I could help them out. So I told them yes and invited them to my home. I was so glad they were not some crazy A holes I could not wait to get rid of. Gerg and Melissa are great people!

Anyway I told them how to get in touch with the people I knew from the Kahiki.
They got me in on some talks with some I never met. Lee Henry was one.
Some of the people they interviewed were the Tsao family. In the interview Alice Tsao, the last owners wife, asked them if they wanted the Fireplace and the Moais.
They said yes. The only catch was they had to move them in three days.They asked me if I wanted one.
Well a, yes I do! Luckily my friend has a crane so I was able to
get it in time.

I need to say that had Melissa not taken this offer the three Kahiki items would have been cracked up and thrown away. She saved them!
Alright Hula Cat show your pictures!

[ Edited by: tikiskip 2006-10-02 05:53 ]

hewey posted on Thu, Sep 28, 2006 8:32 PM

Kool man! What a job!

I'm glad the topknot is still there.

spooky...the last time i saw those was when i was leaving kahiki for the last time.......weird......anyway, good score.....soon you will be able to stand inside it and sell tickets to visit your tiki world out there in ohio!! hmmmmmm..could be the beginning of the new "tikis" theme park, like the old one that was on the west coast.......

they are writing a book about the KAHIKI? who's their publisher?hope this one doesn't take 4years.

Wow, T.S.!!!

How fricken' awesome is that?

Are ya gonna bring it to the next Coon Tiki? :)

Keep the progress pics a' comin'!!!


We should build a 1/10th scale Kahiki there on your land!!

Nice score!

John, that is an amazing piece and with all the heritage, great job with the rescue and restore, can't wait to see it up right...



Great idea Ben! When can you start?

Amy your place looks great! Can't wait to meet you someday.


Okay, Tikiskip and all the other fine tikiphiles, finally had some good weather and the time to uncover these “sacred” and scarred relics of tiki history.

First I would like to thank timely circumstance and the generosity of the Tsao family who offered these treasures.I wasn't expecting or looking for this windfall but am thrilled (and broke!) after rescuing these icons from imminent destruction. While interviewing the late Michael Tsao’s wife, Alice and sons, Jeff and Tim, and in looking at photos of the Kahiki I asked whatever happened to the pieces that had been saved for a possible rebirth. Tim mentioned that the fireplace and moai were disintegrating and had little salvage value (what?!). He asked if I knew anyone who would want them as they were too large and damaged to be saved and were about to be scrapped. In disbelief, I said "I'll take them!” ... the Tsao’s said okay, but they have to be moved in three days. Then the scramble to hire a truck on short notice and make loading and offloading arrangements. I was going to take all three pieces but I thought that it would be a great idea to offer one moai to my friend, John (tikiskip) as he has been so welcoming, generous and helpful with the Kahiki book project. He’s as crazy about this stuff as we I am (if not more!) and it would be great to have one moai stay in Columbus. This decision and offer were made well before I realized the flatbed may not have held all three pieces.

There’s more to this saga of bringing these magnificent tiki artifacts to Vermont, but realize that my love for things Kahiki and tiki goes beyond good reason. I'll will post progress on the restorations and addition, but it probably won’t happen until spring since Vermont's winter is fast approaching. (not too much of an exaggeration!).

Thanks John and Barb for your continued friendship and I'm looking forward to meeting many of you at the Hukilau.


pondering how to get it on the flatbed (thank god for credit cards--shipping was $3000!)

collecting the pieces that were crumbling off

almost ready

after a crane offloaded them at our house (another grand)--fireplace detail

recognize those eyes?

ear damage


gas burner mechanism for the topknot


interior view of face; back has a crack all the way to the top

just moving it around the yard......yeah, right !

[ Edited by: Hula Cat 2009-08-18 10:09 ]

[ Edited by: Hula Cat 2010-11-11 06:19 ]

[ Edited by: Hula Cat 2010-11-11 06:24 ]


Great pics! Those eyes could not even be seen when you got the fireplace.
Your moai is in better shape the mine I think. Thanks again guys.
I could have never dreamed I would end up with one of these!
Have fun at the Hukilau!


You guys rule! Happy to see someone saving some of the greatest pieces of tiki history out there.


Hey man, you really should know that you are doing a great part in the advancement of historic preservation. Maybe if you conduct tours once a year for people to see that thing you could qualify for a Federal restoration grant....maybe not. I would like to say that I am also conducting research on the Kahiki and am working through the University of Georgia to create a cyber walking tour through its interior and around the grounds. The basis for this work is to create a new teaching tool that will further our understanding and appreciation of historic architecture by recreating the treasures we have lost in the wake of modern development trends. Would you mind providing the measurements for the moai so that they can be entered into our database?




I once saw a complete to scale model of the Kahiki. It was great!
But yes I will send you measurements of the moai.

Thank you. And good luck with your project.

I will help anyway I can.I have many items from the Kahiki.
Maybe you could add pictures of the items that were in the Kahiki
to your project.

PS I have two hours of video of the Kahikis last days, plus the last night party.
You need to come over and see it.

[ Edited by: tikiskip 2006-10-02 11:19 ]

Aloha Greg and Melissa,

Thank you so much for rescueing these rare artifacts from Tiki's golden age. The Kahiki was one of the finest Polynesian restaurants ever constructed. Thanks also for donating the extra Moai to my friend tikiskip. He is in the process of restoring it as we speak. It is nice to keep at least a piece of this in Ohio.

You guys are definitely preserving a piece of Ohio history and for that I thank you very much. It would have been a real shame to learn that these items were destroyed.

Thanks for posting the pictures and keep us updated on your own restoration project.

Cheers and Mahalo,

*On 2006-10-02 09:57, Swamp Tiki wrote:*I would like to say that I am also conducting research on the Kahiki and am working through the University of Georgia to create a cyber walking tour through its interior and around the grounds.

hey swamp do you have measured or construction documents for the kahiki? if so can such a thing be shared? be your best friend... :D

Back from Hukilau. So here's some pics of the repairs.

[ Edited by: tikiskip 2007-02-08 19:12 ]

Great work, tikiskip! You'll definitely have to come visit in the spring to advise us on your restoration process.

Thanks Jeff, Swamp Tiki & Matt for your kind words of support--very much appreciated.

Also, mahalo to Sven for kindly mentioning us in his Hukilau presentation, and for the resulting enthusiastic show of support from the audience. I am so grateful to be part of such a generous and welcoming 'ohana nui.

These pieces will be restored with as much accuracy and care as possible, realizing how lucky we are to have such incredible icons of Polynesian pop and Kahiki history. Open house & mai tai christening when the addition is finished (which may be quite a little while since I am now officially beyond broke!).

Tikicat67 =^..^=

[ Edited by: tikicat67 2006-10-14 08:47 ]


I just caught this.
I can't wait to see these.

Last time I was a little boy.

Wow, what a save.

tikicat67! Thanks for sharing your story with johnman, Paul & me at the Molokai bar. That was one of the highlights of the Hukilau and now that I see the pics--wow! If you ever need a bunch of strong backs to get that fireplace raised, I'm sure the New England Ohana will come together to help.


we will call with back braces and chiropractor contacts !!!!

And all I thought was left of the Kahiki was frozen supermarket egg rolls... That is too cool, Skip. Keep the torch burning!

On 2006-10-25 07:10, pappythesailor wrote:
tikicat67! Thanks for sharing your story with johnman, Paul & me at the Molokai bar. That was one of the highlights of the Hukilau and now that I see the pics--wow! If you ever need a bunch of strong backs to get that fireplace raised, I'm sure the New England Ohana will come together to help.

Thanks, pappy, it was great meeting you guys as well. Thanks for the offer of help--I may just take you up on it!

Tikicat67 =^..^=


This is exciting, having a piece of the Kahiki right here in New England! I think this could be the beginning of a Tiki Revival in the Northeast. Keep up the good work you two!

tikicat67, I emailed you about an idea I had for restoration, let me know what you think.


Hey Pablus, Thanks for the ride at Hukilau.
Feel free to stop by when in Columbus and check it out.


Here I sit alone in the cold.
A little battered, And kinda old.
Soon I will rise to my former glory.
This is not the end of this Moais story.

Snow on my face, I'm flat on my back.
I'll fall to pieces with just one more crack.
I'll get my Aku Aku to haunt
Those nuts who moved me to Vermont!

Wow....what a great save and fun project....looking good. It is good to know someone with a crane. :D

Great picture skip. Thanks for posting!!

This great remant of the Kahiki will rise again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cheers and Mahalo,

Great pictures!!


A few Christmas time snaps with the grand old fellow and FOM hospitality.


Hey Matt. Here's a better one of you.
Come back soon!



What happened to Hulacat?


No new work done on this to date.
Also the mugs that were sold to raise funds for the rehab
of the fireplace was not for mine as well.
I recived no funds for the rehab of this.
Not that I wanted them.
Just wanted to make things clear.

Pages: 1 2 72 replies