Lâna’i is the sixth largest of the Hawaiian islands, however it is actually the smallest inhabited island within the archipelago, covering around 160 square kilometres (62 square miles). Only 14.5 kilometres (nine miles) away from the island of Maui, the island has around 3,000 inhabitants and is a place of deep cultural significance.
In ancient times it was believed that Lâna’i was dominated by evil spirits. Natives were afraid to visit the island and therefore not much is known about its early history. Legend has it that the King of Maui banished his nephew, Kaululaau, to the island as punishment for his constant disobedience. He was to explore the island and, if he survived, he was to make a fire that would be visible to the people of Lahaina (then called Lele). Much time passed and hope for Kaululaau, the son of the high chief of Lele, faded until one night a fire pierced the darkness. It was believed that Kaululaau had overcome the dark spirits and had made Lâna’i safe for settlement.