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How did the Robinson family get Niihau?

How Did the Robinson Family Get Niihau?

The acquisition of the remote island of Niihau by the Robinson family is a fascinating story of determination and opportunity. Niihau, located in the Hawaiian archipelago, holds a unique place in history due to its private ownership and preservation of traditional Hawaiian culture. So, how did the Robinson family come to possess this beautiful and secluded island?

Niihau’s story begins in 1864 when King Kamehameha V decided to sell the island to Elizabeth Sinclair, a Scottish widow. However, due to financial constraints, Sinclair was unable to complete the purchase and instead leased the island to the Robinson family. Actively seeking to return the island to the native Hawaiians, Sinclair’s leasehold eventually turned into a full-fledged sale when the Robinsons took over the lease in 1877.

In the ensuing years, the Robinson family dedicated themselves to the preservation and promotion of Hawaiian culture on Niihau. By restricting access to the island and continuing to honor long-standing traditions, the Robinsons ensured that Niihau remained free from the influences of modern society. Today, the island is known as the “Forbidden Island,” as access is granted only to a select few and the traditional Hawaiian language and lifestyle are still thriving.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Robinson Family’s Acquisition of Niihau

1. How did the Robinson family come to acquire Niihau?

The Robinson family first obtained the lease to Niihau in 1864 from Elizabeth Sinclair, who was unable to complete the purchase due to financial constraints. Eventually, the leasehold turned into a full-fledged sale in 1877, and the Robinsons became the official owners of Niihau.

2. Why did the Robinson family want to own Niihau?

The Robinson family had a deep appreciation for Hawaiian culture and traditions. They saw owning Niihau as an opportunity to preserve and promote the traditional ways of life that were rapidly disappearing from the main Hawaiian islands.

3. Is Niihau open to the public?

No, Niihau is not open to the public. The island is known as the “Forbidden Island” and access is restricted to a select few individuals. This exclusivity has allowed Niihau to maintain its pristine natural beauty and preserve its unique cultural heritage.

4. How did the Robinson family preserve Hawaiian culture on Niihau?

The Robinsons restricted access to the island, allowing only limited contact with the outside world. They also actively promoted the use of the Hawaiian language, encouraged traditional practices, and ensured that the island’s residents continued to live in accordance with ancient Hawaiian customs.

5. Are there any resorts or hotels on Niihau?

No, there are no resorts or hotels on Niihau. The island is primarily used for ranching and conserving the native Hawaiian ecosystem. Its untouched beauty and exclusivity make it a truly unique destination in Hawaii.

6. Can people visit Niihau on guided tours?

No, guided tours or visits to Niihau are not available to the general public. Access to the island is strictly limited, and only those with explicit permission from the Robinson family are allowed entry.

7. Are there any airports on Niihau?

No, there are no airports on Niihau. The only way to access the island is via boat or helicopter, and these methods of transportation are strictly regulated.

8. How has Niihau managed to preserve its traditional culture?

Niihau’s isolation from the influences of modern society has played a crucial role in preserving its traditional culture. The Robinson family’s dedication to maintaining Hawaiian customs and traditions, coupled with restricted access, has allowed Niihau to retain its distinctive character.

9. What is the size of Niihau?

Niihau spans approximately 69 square miles, making it the seventh-largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. Its small size adds to its exclusivity and secluded charm.

10. Are there any wildlife or natural attractions on Niihau?

Niihau is home to several endemic and endangered species, making it a haven for conservation efforts. The island’s diverse ecosystem includes seabird colonies, native plants, and marine life, making it a natural attraction for scientists and nature enthusiasts.

11. Can I purchase land or property on Niihau?

No, it is not possible to purchase land or property on Niihau. The island is privately owned by the Robinson family, and they have made it clear that Niihau is not for sale.

12. What is the future of Niihau?

Niihau’s future remains closely tied to the Robinson family’s commitment to preserving its cultural heritage. As long as the family continues to uphold the traditions and ideals that have made Niihau so unique, the island will remain a testament to Hawaii’s rich and diverse history.

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