What really distinguishes the NWHI from the dozens of other natural World Heritage sites around the globe is the overwhelming cultural significance that the region holds for the Native Hawaiian people.
Papahānaumokuākea is known as one of the last “places of abundance” where people can experience an intact and abundant natural world. The islands were frequented by Native Hawaiians for centuries, with the geography and place names being interwoven into geneology, stories and religion.
A visitor to the island of Nihoa blows a pū or conch shell. This is typically done to signal an arrival or departure from a place.
Upright stones on the island of Mokumanamana align with the sun and other celestial bodies showing the importance of the island to Hawaiian culture.
Ki‘i pōhaku (stone figures) found on Mokumanamana Island