Ki'i Akua (temple images) symbolized the presence of helpful gods who were ancestral to the worshippers. To visiting Europeans, Kamehameha once said, "These are my gods, whom I worship. Whether I do right or wrong (by European definition) I do not know. But I follow my faith, which cannot be wicked, as it commands me never to do wrong."
Carved with great virtuosity, ki'i akua of the distinctive Kona style are regarded as among the finest of all Polynesian art forms.