The story begins in 1977 when two young men met out west in the town of Mākaha on the island of O ̒ahu, Hawaiʻi. Howard Shapiro and Michael Joao loved the beautiful surf, uncrowded beaches, and homegrown music of Mākaha. They discovered shared a passion not only for music, but for pressing issues like environmental protection, human rights, Native Hawaiian rights, and hunger and homelessness.

Together they formed the band Earth, which they soon changed to ‘Āina, meaning land or earth in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiian language.

During the 1970s, Āina performed throughout Oʻahu at various gatherings that addressed environmental protection and Native Hawaiian rights. In 1978, ‘Āina recorded a 7-inch single for Greenpeace, entitled "Greenpeace: To Save the Whales".

In 1980, the band entered Honolulu’s Audissey Recording Studio and soon released their only LP, Lead Me to the Garden. The resulting album is a pleasant, uplifting spiritual journey of album oriented rock (AOR) and soft rock with samples of Hawaiian music.