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The island of Ni`ihau is approximately 4.9 million years old and is younger than its neighbor Kaua`i which lies 17 miles to the northeast.

An arid island falling in the rain shadow of Kaua`i, Ni`ihau is the smallest of the populated islands of Hawai`i with an area of 70 square miles.

In 1863, King Kamehameha IV sold the island to Elizabeth Sinclair of Scotland. Her descendants, the Robinson family, continue to manage the island. While open to visitors on a limited basis, Ni`ihau is a private island where the Hawaiian language still prevails.

Many of Ni`ihau’s natural plant resources have been preserved and documented by island co-owner, Keith Robinson. Ni`ihau is designated as critical habitat for the `ōlulu, an endemic and endangered species of Hawaiian lobelioid.


Coastal Geology Group


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