The Fraternal Order Of Moai, better known as the FOM, is a secret society of Tikiphiles that started in Ohio and has grown across the country. If you have been on the Chicago Area Tiki Tour or attended OHANA: Luau at the Lake, you can thank the FOM. Not only does the FOM put together killer Tiki activities, they also do charity work. This secret society shouldn’t be a secret any longer. Here is what the Fraternal Order Of Moai is all about…
What is the Fraternal Order Of Moai all about?
The FOM is the premier fraternal organization and social network for all men and women interested in Tiki culture and the Polynesian Pop era. Our events and activities are designed to reflect our core values: Good Works, Fellowship, Spirit, Presence, Preservation, and Celebration.
Or put more succinctly: Fun With A Purpose. We like Tiki, we like fellowship, and we like enjoying those things while raising money for charity. And rum—we are fans of rum.
How did FOM come together?
According to the Legend of Poreko, the Tiki Gods awoke from their slumber and created the Order to worship them.
A few years after the Kahiki Supper Club closed, a group of people came together in Columbus, Ohio with the goal of preserving the history and artifacts from the restaurant. It proved impossible to contain the idea and the Order grew by word-of-mouth among Tikiphiles in the Midwest and the East mostly.
How many members are there at this point?
We don’t discuss membership statistics outside the Lodge. Dozens and dozens. And yes, we are looking for a few good Moai.
There are different chapters of FOM across the country. What are some the cities?
We have active chapters in these cities and regions:
Kahiki (Central Ohio)
Kon-Tiki (Southwest Ohio)
Red Palms (Greater Chicagoland)
Gumbo Limbo (South Florida)
Queequeg (New England)
Kokoru (Chesapeake Bay)
The Fraternal Order Of Moai does charity work and some for the Easter Island Foundation. Can you talk about that?
Charity fundraising events run by the national organization usually fund scholarships that are awarded by the Easter Island Foundation. Typically, these are for students attending school on the mainland in Chile. We have taken our symbol from the island of Rapa Nui and in return we work to provide opportunities for students from the island so the native population has more say in their own future. We have also been able to fund youth and educational programs on the island through the EIF.
Local chapters can designate any charity they want when doing fundraising or volunteer work, so regional events run by chapters will often benefit local charities of significance to the chapter members.
Our efforts have grown steadily and in 2015 the FOM created a separate charitable foundation to handle and distribute those funds.
FOM hosts many cool activities. What are some of the events that FOM has held?
Our original event was the Hot Rod Hula Hop and that has inspired a lot of additional ideas. That event lives on as the Hula Hop and is presented by the Kahiki Chapter in the summer. Our largest event is OHANA: Luau at the Lake, which is entering its ninth year in Lake George. In between, there are many other current and past events like Northeast Tiki Tour, Chicago Area Tiki Tour, Festiki, Makahiki, and even monthly Tiki bingo nights at the Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale.
What does the future hold for the Fraternal Order Of Moai?
We built a time machine to find out, but turns out that was a bad idea. We expect to grow, possibly to the west of the Rockies. Our events have helped us build relationships with lots of artists and companies, which we are grateful for, and we hope that allows us to sustain regular annual charitable gifts to a variety of good causes. We think a lot about preservation and in some cases (like with “George,” the iconic monkey fountain from the Kahiki Supper Club) we have been able to save artifacts, so we want to do more of that.
Anything else you would like to add?
The New York Times called us “a serious group of Tiki aficionados,” but we try not to take ourselves too seriously and neither should anyone else.
We invite all Tikiphiles to join us for Fun With A Purpose. You won’t regret it.
Interested in being a member of FOM? Here is their website.
And Facebook page.