Lanai Island, in central Hawaii, in Maui County, separated from Maui Island by Auau Channel. Known as the Pineapple Island, it is the sixth largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Lanai City, in the center, and the western coast port of Kaumalapau are the chief settlements. Mount Lanaihale (1026 m/3366 ft) is the highest point. Virtually all the cultivated land on the privately owned island is used to grow pineapples. Of interest on Lanai are ancient Polynesian petroglyphs (inscriptions on rock) and abandoned Hawaiian and missionary villages. Area, 364 sq km (140 sq mi); population (1980) 2119; (1990) 2426.
Lanai, known as the Pineapple Island for the many years it was a prosperous pineapple plantation, was recently opened to tourism. Its years of private ownership by the Dole Food Company and reputation today as a place where visitors can find seclusion has bestowed upon it a new nickname as the Private Island. It is a generally hilly island that rises gradually to 1,027 m (3,369 ft) above sea level at Lanaihale, or Mount Palawai. Cut off in part from the northeast trade winds by Maui and Molokai, the island of Lanai receives very little rainfall except in the summit region surrounding Lanaihale. For a time the land was used mainly for cattle raising. In 1922 most of the island was purchased by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (now the Dole Company), which tapped underground reservoirs and valley streams for irrigation water. The workers and their families reside in Lanai City, now the chief community, which lies at the foot of Lanaihale on the Palawai plateau.