Nihoa, Nihoa-Kuhikuhipu‘uone, Moku Manu

In Hawaiian, Nihoa means “jagged” or “toothed,” likely referring to the island’s many craggy cliffs causing a profile that resembles a tooth. Kuhikuhipu‘uone was sometimes added in chants, referring to the priests who specialized in the construction planning of heiau. Moku Manu, meaning “bird island,” refers to its having one of the largest populations of petrels and noddies in the Hawaiian Islands. The name Hanaka‘ie‘ie means “bay (with) rise and fall (of sea),” and refers to Adams Bay, the only major bay in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands whose waves wrap around the island and come together to intensify each rise and fall within the bay.

~ Please enjoy the 360 panoramic video of the Midway Pier until we upload video from Nihoa ~




Nihoa is unlike any of the other Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) with its 900 foot cliffs, basalt rock surface, and tiny beach. This small island is about 171 acres and is at the southeastern end of the NWHI chain.

A shark swimming in the coral reefs around Nihoa

Sheer rocky cliffs rising from the ocean at Nihoa, in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

Nihoa is mentioned in the mele Ka Wai A Kane:

E ui aku ana au iaʻoe
Aia I hea ka wai a Kāne
Aia I kaulana a ka lā
I ka pae ʻōpua I ke kai
Eamai ana ma nihoa
Ma ka mole mai o Lehua
Aia I laila ka wai a Kāne I put to you
where is the water of kāne
out there with the floating sun
where the cloud forms rest on oceans breast
uplifting their forms of nihoa
this side the base of lehua
there is the water of kāne


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Waves; Illustration: Noun Project

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