Polynesian Tattoo Symbols & Meanings – Tiki

Tiki Vector

Before talking about “tiki” symbols of Polynesian tattoo, please have a look at the tiki vector above. You must have seen these patterns everywhere, in paintings, designs, games, cards, etc. Yes, they are all tiki things.

Sample showing the Polynesian symbol of tiki and its organs and variations.

Tiki is human-like figure that represents Polynesian semi-gods, which means deified ancestors and heads, who are sublimed after their death. According to its guardian role, they mainly symbolize protection. If you love playing pc games, you’ll find that in many lost temples, Tiki patterns are often carved on pillars or stone gate.

Tiki plays a very important role in Polynesian culture. Tiki’s organs are often separately drawn to represent different meanings. For example, nose symbols mean sniffing danger before its coming. Tiki’s eyes, nose, mouth and side faces are all important design elements and most Polynesian tattoo designs contain one or more tiki symbols.

Below we’ll list some samples that contain tiki symbols.

Photo of Polynesian arm tattoo that contains two tiki side faces.

Polynesian tattoo design that contains tiki organs.

Polynesian tattoo design that contains two tiki side faces.


  1. Gavin Devlin says:

    i am aged 24 i have 2 sisters 1 brother would have had 2 only my other brother past away shortly after birth. I have a fear of heights but not scared of anything else. i have a very bad case of eczema which makes it very hard for me to do alot of things even have problems sleeping. I am at the minute looking to get a new tattoo with but i want it to mean something so hoping to find help here

  2. sarvesh shirodkar says:

    Its good to make this polynesian tattoos..ya tiki..my birthday is 19:12:1988
    According my birthday which tattoos r good for me..,because my friend tell me don’t make any tattoos 1st u should no about that tattoo….any
    Any wrong tottoo can huts ur Luck n all..

  3. In TIKI descriptions, I think that where you have writen “mouse” you meant “mouth”

  4. I’m thinking of getting my first tattoo, really like the tiki face tattoo designs and how it stands for protection. I recently lost my grandfather, who was the head of our family. I’m from Scotland and asked a tattoo artist for some help but didn’t feel it was that useful. Could you give me help regarding a design? I don’t mind if you don’t want to just this page was helpful already and it looks like you know your stuff

  5. Afari Patterson says:

    Hi I’ve been looking to get another tattoo meaning for respect and protection of my little brother and I’d like to know how I can get a drawing of a tiki symbol symbolizing protection going from my arm to shoulder

  6. Tozama Keyise says:


    I am a 29yr old(in South Africa) about to get my first tattoo in Aug, I have been doing my research regarding polynesian tatts. there is a particular design im interested in ,can I email you the pic so could explain the meaning ?

    Thank you in advance for your prompt response to this comment.

  7. Judith Albright says:

    I would love to get a tattoo that symbolises lost love and a broken heart. Is there anything in the Polynesian tattoos that would symbolise this?

  8. Kody Richardson says:

    Hello, I’m trying to find help I know this is the tiki description but I’m looking for so,etching that means strength, courage, family, warrior and I know the tiki means protection. These are all the things I’d like to have put into mine, any suggestions or any type of artwork I can look at?

  9. Hello, as many others, i am trying to get deeper into the polynasian tattoos symbols and understand them properly. Could you please advice any further source of informations about the symbols and their meanings? And could you please email me, what symbols represent the new beginnings and newly found strenght, will to live and the difficulties/obstructions i got through (to keep these in mind to be aware of them in the future)? Thank you very much for your reply. Jakub

    • The content on the site is all i know. If you’re interested in the culture, you can read the book, The Polynesian Tattoo Today, written by Tricia Allen.

  10. Hello, I been looking into getting a Marquesian/Polynesian tattoo. But I’m not Samoan nor Polynesian. I love the culture and the meaning of symbols and this is why I want to get this kind of tattoo. would anyone get offended is they see this tattoo id I travel to the islands? Thanks in advance.