Posted: July 30, 2020

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument Celebrates 10 Years as a World Heritage Site

Nihoa as seen from aboard the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hikianalia.
Nihoa as seen from aboard the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hikianalia. Credit: Brad Ka‘aleleo Wong/OHA

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, “where nature and culture are one”, is celebrating 10 years as a mixed World Heritage site. The monument joins iconic sites such as the Great Barrier Reef, Galapagos Islands, and the Great Wall of China. It is the only mixed World Heritage site in the United States, recognized for both natural and cultural attributes.

The near pristine remote reefs, islands, and waters of Papahānaumokuākea provide refuge and habitat for a wide array of threatened and endangered species, and is one of the last predator dominated coral reef ecosystems on the planet. The monument's globally significant natural attributes incorporate its living, indigenous, cultural connections to the sea––where modern Hawaiian wayfinders (non-instrument navigators) still voyage for navigational training on traditional double-hulled sailing canoes.

World Heritage inscription is only granted to those who meet the rigorous criteria under either natural or cultural categories. Papahānaumokuākea met multiple criteria for both, and is one of only 39 global locations inscribed as a mixed site for both natural and cultural importance.

As we mark this historic milestone, we continue to celebrate the natural and cultural heritage of Papahānaumokuākea.

For more information, view here.