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Nihoa Islet


Nihoa is 120 miles north-west of Ni'ihau. It is about 156 acres and the highest point is 910 feet. There are sheer cliffs as high as 180 feet on the north, east and west.

Nihoa is allegedly on the "Cultural Pathway- the route to Tahiti: From Ni'ihau they would travel to Nihoa and then to Motu-papapa and then to Tahiti.


Ni'ihauans were frequent visitors. Before they would go they would climb up Pu'u Kaeo on Niihau where a marker faced Nihoa. If the weather conditions favored the trip, they would leave by canoe from Kaununui taking provisions and gourds of fresh water. When they reached Nihoa, they had good , sweet water from a large punawai called Wai-aka-noho-aka. They landed on the beach on the south side of the island. Other trips to Nihoa were to collect leaves and wood for spears from the lo'ulu palm that grew only on Nihoa. They would also get a fiber-like grass, makiukiu that was used for cord and stuffing. Niihauans sailed to Nihoa in the spring winds returning to Niihau in the fall on Kona winds.

Nihoa was visited by young lovers who wanted to be alone and get to know one another.

In 1822, Ka'ahumanu King Kamehameha's wife) and her royal party-Liholiho, Kaumuali'i, Keopuokalani and kahekili Keeaumoku left Kauai for Niihau where they were royally entertained. The people of Niihau told her of Nihoa and its importance. Ka'ahumanu and the royal party visited Nihoa and Captain William Sumner took possession of the island for her.

Princess Liliuokalani visited Nihoa. She was astonished to find remnants of a village, heiaus, sweet potatoes, yams and other plants.

He aloha Nihoa i ka ehukai a ka Naulu ae hi'ipoi nei
Beloved is Nihoa in the salt spray, courted by the Naulu winds.
Kč paku ka pali o Nihoa i ka makani
The cliffs of Nihoa stand as a resistance against the wind
Said of a person who stands bravely in the face of misfortune
He pu'u kolo i Nihoa
Climbing the cliffs of Nihoa men who visited there had to find ways to crawl up the cliffs.

Hawaiian Names of Islands beyond Nihoa but their exact placement is not remembered.