From fantasy paradise to world class facility for marine biology, the little island found in Kane ohe Bay
has a rich and colorful history.Moku o Lo e ori gi n a lly
bel onged to Hawaiian ali i, including Kamehameha I
and Bern i ce Pauahi Bishop. Traditional life in the
ahupua a of He eia consisted mainly of fishing and
farming, with the cultivation of traditional food crops
such as taro and sweet potato, and the creation of fishponds.
As the land tenure changed in the coming
years, He eia and little Moku o Lo e, also changed.
In the 1930 s, Christian Holmes II, heir to the
Fleischmann Yeast fortune, built a pleasure dome on
the 12-acre rock in the middle of the bay, doubling the
size of Coconut Island in the process. It instantly
became the must visit hangout on the international
social circuit. By the 1950 s, Edwin W. Pauley of Los
Angeles and his family began spending their summer
vacations there. Kings, presidents, movie stars and
millionaires became regulars at Coconut Island.
With Holmes creating the ideal facilities for a marine
laboratory and Pauley providing the nece s s a ry
resources and support, the beginnings of the Hawaii
Institute of Marine Biology came to existence in the
1940 s. Over the years, this small island laboratory has
grown and expanded to become a renowned research