Sven Kirsten’s incomparable tome on all that is Polynesian Pop, The Book of Tiki, has become the go-to bible for tikiphiles, a must-read among must-reads. It’s densely packed with inspirational images of tiki’s glory days. So inspirational, in fact, that its images have been ripped off time and again for products and advertisements. Sven keeps very close track of these items that were inspired by the BoT, generally not because he wants to go after those responsible, but more because he is amused by them, and collects them.
Of all the BoT “borrowings” I’ve seen, none can compare to this — a junk mail scam for the “Last Great Tiki of Unlimited Abundance.” Nearly every graphic in the mailer is pulled straight from the Book of Tiki. The letter is purported to have been written by “Haapepe Tuarii” a “Great Maori Magus of Polynesia,” but the picture is actually of a waiter from the Mai Kai. His pictured “assistant” is a Kahiki mystery girl. A picture of some tikified apartments in Arcadia, California are labelled as “The ‘magic’ place where Haapape Tuarii practices the great ritual ceremonies of the solstice.” It goes on and on, in similar bizarre fashion.
Here’s how “Haapepe” says it works: a picture of a tiki (also from the BoT) is included in the mailer, the recipient is instructed to cut out the picture, hold it between their palms for one full minute to make a “karmic imprint,” and mail this image back within five days — with payment of $50, a “contribution to the legal fees for acceptance of inheritance.” It is promised that once this is done, all sorts of happy fun things will happen, including “BOUNDLESS UNIVERSAL MANA!!!”
It’s truly beautiful.