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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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20 years ago on January 12th, 2000, myself and another like-minded individual, Jennifer Thompson, decided to start an internet club focused on tiki bars. There was very little information about tiki bars on the web, and almost no pictures. We were clueless as to how Tiki Central would end up changing that.

The thing is, Jennifer and I had never met in real life - we had met electronically, through Yahoo's Instant Messenger service - and we didn't really know that much about tiki bars and whatnot. But we were willing to share what we did know, and eager to learn what we didn't.

Little did we know that those core principles would be the real magic that brought Tiki Central to life. Because the reason for its success was just that: people who didn't know each other, coming to the website to share what they knew, and to soak up all the great information that others were contributing.

My own personal curiosity in tiki was finding still-open vintage tiki bars to explore, but soon Tiki Central was gaining members whose interests spanned all different facets, from mixology, to music, to carving, and beyond. I quickly realized that there was much more to it than just that relatively tiny sliver I was interested in, and that everyone had their specialties.

My own specialty, it turned out, was simply providing the actual space, keeping the site running (barely at times), and trying to keep the ship in calm waters. The Tiki Central members at large filled it with talent, humor, information, and entertainment. We got together in real life, made real friendships, shared sacred knowledge, organized incredible events, and opened new Tiki Bars. You guys made it a true ohana. You guys brought tiki back to life.

Occasionally I'll hear someone say that Tiki Central has become less relevant. That newer technologies and websites like Facebook have replaced it. And I actually somewhat agree with that statement, but with a twist: Tiki Central made itself less relevant, and that was always its subconscious mission. Because when we started it, there was very little collected information out there. Very few books, not a lot of new music, no big events, and there was really no new tiki bars opening.

The members of Tiki Central changed all that, and more. Because of you guys, There's no way that today a single website could cover it all. It makes complete sense that it's grown well beyond Tiki Central's walls.

I don't want to say "mission accomplished" - because the mission is ongoing - but 20 years on, I'd say Tiki Central was a success at what it set out to do. I'm just happy I could be a small part of it all.

In the past I've thanked so many people who have helped me run this site, inspired me, and contributed to tiki culture, that this time around, I'm just going to thank every Tiki Central member over the years who made the site what it is today. To me, this anniversary is the ohana's anniversary. It's your anniversary. You all should be incredibly proud.

Here's to another 20 years! Mahalo.

Co-founder, Tiki Central

A few more things:

If you check the memberlist here on Tiki Central, you'll see the first members signed up in 2002. That's because we were originally a Yahoo Club, later merged into a Yahoo Group.

While the messages from the group are long-gone, you can still visit the group home page, with my "we've moved to tikicentral.com" message at the link below. It shows the founding date.


[ Edited by: hanford_lemoore 2020-01-12 17:17 ]

Hamo posted on Sun, Jan 12, 2020 5:37 PM

Thanks to Hanford and every single TC member for keeping this place going strong!

CHEERS! :drink:

Hamo posted on Sun, Jan 12, 2020 5:37 PM

Thanks to Hanford and every single TC member for keeping this place going strong!

CHEERS! :drink:

Thank you again so much for starting this amazing creation. I look at the member list occasionally and there are still new members joining all the time. I think it’s great to see.

Thank you TC for all you have shared, and I will enjoy the next 20 years and beyond !!

Happy 20th Tiki Central.

Well said Hanford, and thank you!


GROG posted on Sun, Jan 12, 2020 11:33 PM

GROG like.

Thanks Hanford for starting the website and thanks to the many contributors who have posted so much fun, creative, and informative stuff. GROG has made a lot of friends because of this website, and GROG inspired and informed by so many creative people. If not for this website, GROG probably would not have gotten back into doing ceramics, so DAMN you for for that!! GROG hate glazing.

Thanks Tiki Central and the Ohana for enriching GROG' life in so many ways.

[ Edited by: GROG 2020-01-12 23:58 ]


"Thanks Tiki Central and the Ohana for enriching GROG' life in so many ways."

I like this one and agree, and if it's spelled wrong Grog need to spell check self.

But really how would a guy living in Ohio make tiki lights and then sell them to people in France and other places all over the world, almost two hundred lights to this day if not for Tiki Central.

Found out about Tiki news first and met a few California tiki people at the Kahiki closing party.
We were blown away that there were people that documented and studied this stuff!

Heck we NEVER knew there were SOOO many tiki bars and restaurants around the world.

Lots of Kahiki info and stuff just kinda fell in our laps, oh we were looking also but it did seam like another force was at work many times.

So I posted most of what I found out about the Kahiki here so the info would not die with me, I think some of it is important and other stuff just interesting, plus some making lights things I learned along the way from building stuff and asking others.

Just think of how that info has been used over the years books, seminars, reference for other bars and lights, drinks, ect to be made.

There is lots more out there that others are hording from the public view here on TC.

So add to TC so your info can help with future tiki projects, even pictures of the events, how would you like to have more pictures of Trader Vic's luaus, or Don in his Hawaiian treehouse?
Or all the drink/food recipes, damn they don't use many of them anymore post the damn things, GET OVER IT YOUR NOT GOING TO OPEN A TIKI BAR!

Thanks Tiki Central and Tiki News, Book of Tiki, Tiki Quest, as these are the frist tiki info spots that threw Lots o gas on the small flame we had for the world of Tiki.

Maloha, That means family hello or good bye in lolo Hawaiian talk.

[ Edited by: tikiskip 2020-01-13 08:02 ]


I only stumbled into Tiki Central by chance, while looking up information related to 50's lounge music. I've come to discover tiki neatly encapsulates everything I love; music, craftsmanship, food & drink, collectibles, travel, art, and so much more. All of it I would have never discovered if not for Tiki Central. Thank you all for opening my eyes to the possibilities.

On 2020-01-13 08:00, tikiskip wrote: GET OVER IT YOUR NOT GOING TO OPEN A TIKI BAR!


In all seriousness, though, I agree. There is always more that can be uncovered and shared. Today's internet culture gets a lot of flack for "over-sharing" but that's dependent on what is being shared. I eagerly await every new post here, because it means more tidbits of the culture can be preserved, in at least this digital form, for at least as long as the server is live.

On 2020-01-13 08:15, Bam Bam wrote:
...for at least as long as the server is live.

Yeah, no kidding... My suspicion is that if the server died there would be lots of downtime to re-build a new one (a few months maybe) and that may come along with a need to upgrade core software at the same time. That's because I think Hanford realizes the value of this site as a whole and the in-depth information it contains - I can't imagine it being left to die.


Thanks to Hanford, Jennifer and everyone else involved who have posted questions, posted answers, argued, corrected, joked, complimented, chided, greeted, etc. etc. I knew very little about tiki when I got involved many moons ago. And folks on this website consistently have helped me in one way or another. Mahalo to all.


Absolutely love this site and the caliber of members here. I even hold TC up on a pedestal and always refer people here. I think those that congregate here definitely understand and "get it" better than those who only gather on FB to try to gain a quick buck or just capitalize on the latest crossover trend.

Cheers to everybody who helped keep this place thriving.


Thank you Hanford!
TC remains a DAILY visit for me after all these years. Social Media WITH history!



Hanford, if it had not been for TC I would never have gotten as far as I was able to in the Tiki culture. THANKS for all YOU have done. Happy 20th TC. (-:

MAhalos Hanford and all the TC Tiki Freaks!

I should gave you 20 spankings at Frankie's but I'm old now lol!!

2020 The year of Tiki !!!

Mahalo brother!

Thanks, Hanford!
Without Tiki Central, I have no doubt in my mind, that my life would be wildly different.
You’ve made a big impact on a lot of people.

:tiki: :drink: My tiki rubicon. Congratulations and many thanks!



Thanks for building on your Tiki vision to create this site. I am learning so much here.

OnlyATikiLad, great word: Rubicon = to take a decisive, irrevocable step....march on Tiki! :music: :tiki: :)

[ Edited by: Mele_Ipo 2020-01-15 09:51 ]

Hanford it's even hard to put into words what Tiki Central has meant to me. We have made friends here that Dan and I treasure. We have used it for a resource over and over again. It has everything tiki that we need. The set up has been perfect. Thank you for bringing us all together. My hope is that it would last past my lifetime and keep on going. Here's to TC infinity!!! Wendy and Dan

I'm so grateful for TC. Besides all the invaluable information and delicious eye candy that keeps me coming back every single day, I have directly and/or indirectly met most of my closest friends thanks to this site. I hope it lives forever.

Well done for staring such an amazing, Because of this you have managed a source for people all over world to focus and share their Tiki finds and catalogue it all on the web, I don't really like Facebook myself, Most people on there seem either have no clue about real Tiki or people boasting about their finds in the wild which they say they got in a thrift store really cheap( Not saying this never happens though)
Also on here you can go back and re read and research old threads, try finding that on Facebook!
I found this site in 2002 after discovering Tiki in the mid 90's in The UK and it put me in touch of so many people and friends I would soon meet in the States on our Tiki road trips
It is a shame that many people have migrated over to other platforms over the years but that is progress


Thank you Hanford

Mahalo nui loa, Hanford!

santa posted on Fri, Jan 17, 2020 3:11 AM

Is Hanford Leemoore your real name? Did you meet Jennifer Thompson in person? Are you still friends?

Much mahalo, Hanford. TC and its members allowed me an avenue to finally be appreciated as an artist. Many of the people I hang out with are TC members. Though I don't attend many tiki events anymore, I am thankful for this community. I look forward to toasting TC, whenever the hell I get a rare sighting of you again! Okole maluna!

Hanford - I echo the good words already posted. This is a wonderful place!
Thank you!

Incredible memories and friends,
Thanks Hanford!


TC has been an invaluable resource and I'm so thankful for it. Mahalo for everything you do!

Thank you Hanford!

I was addicted to TC in those early days, the posts came in fast and furious...there was a lot to read and learn.

It was frustrating that we lost all the early photos when the original picture host site disappeared, but great when you committed that you wouldn't let that happen again and began hosting pics directly on TC.

Back in 2008 my engineer personality kicked in and I plotted a timeline of tiki history, its fun to look back at now. You can see Otto's Tiki News releases, Tiki Oasis and Hukilau events, etc. However, the interesting data is the TC information, I was tracking how many General Tiki posts were posting every day (blue line data). At TC's highest point (around March 2003) 160 posts per day were showing up in General Tiki. That slowed to about 50 per day in December 2005. To put that all in perspective, yesterday (January 8, 2020) there were 2 posts and there hadn't been any posts for the previous three days. Times have changed.

Tiki Central was and remains a unique and invaluable archive of information and I'm happy to have been part of it since 2002.

Thank you so much for posting. this stuff is very interesting to me. Sent you a PM.

Aloha Zulu Magoo!

Love the stats...Would be interesting to track for the most current 3 years (Jan2017-Jan2020). Would also be good to see the impact of any recent surge of interest. Possibly due to the ramp up of the TC 2020 Celebration. Or I maybe asking too much! :wink: :drink:

Mahalo! :tiki: :music: :) Mele Ipo


Yes, our lives would be MUCH different if Tiki Central had not come to life. An unbelievable amount of information has been posted here and is invaluable as a research tool not only for TC members but for anyone curious about the many things we long-time members have said, done, found and shared. But above all this it has been the ohana of TC that has made it a treasure for 20 years. Many of us "found" each other here and know we are amid kindred souls on these pages. I will never forget those early days when I realized there were so many of us out there. It was hard to believe. So to all of the members of my favorite website ever, Mahalo!!

Hamo posted on Sun, Feb 16, 2020 4:51 PM

I've finally listened to the Tiki Central Anniversary episode of Inside the Desert Oasis Room. Hanford, thanks for talking with Adrian; it was a great discussion.



Happy 20th Hanford!

Omg I remember that chat group.

Here’s to 20 more years!


Where DOES the time go? I remember when I first joined back in highschool in 2006. Good lord.

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