After stealing the heart of Te Fiti and losing his fish hook, Maui was banished to this desolate spit of land by the lava demon Te Kā as punishment for his crimes. The island lacks any material capable of being used for escape, being completely inhabited by boulders, sand, and weak flora only. Maui spends a millennium trapped on the island and apparently spent his time carving markings on the boulders and creating a tribute statue of himself to place in the cave he presumably called home.
After Moana crashed her canoe on the island, Maui cleverly tricked her into handing over her boat, which he stole as a means to escape his imprisonment. The ocean ensured the island did not become Moana's new home, however, and it has presumably been abandoned entirely following Maui's escape.