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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Papahānaumokuākea

On June 21, 2021, during Ke Alanui Polohiwa a Kāne (Summer Solstice), the Co-Trustees of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) released Mai Ka Pō Mai, a historic guidance document that will help federal and state agencies further integrate Native Hawaiian culture into all areas of management of the 582,578-square mile protected region in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

READ: Mai Ka Pō Mai: A Native Hawaiian Guidance Document for the Management of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PDF Format).

slide of speakers The Office of Hawaiian Affairs hosted a Mai Ka Pō Mai Webinar on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. The webinar featured OHAʻs Brad Ka’aleleo Wong, and NOAA’s Kalani Quiocho and Hōkū Pousima. Watch the Mai Ka Pō Mai webinar
What's in a Name: Continuing Hawaiian Naming practices in Papahānaumokuakea > Watch the What’s in a Name? Continuing Hawaiian naming practices in Papahānaumokuākea webinar

> Learn more about the Hawaiian Names Given to Five Species at Papahānaumokuākea

Papahānaumokuākea is the single largest conservation area under the U.S. flag, and one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument encompasses an area larger than all the country’s national parks combined.

Papahānaumokuākea was established in June 2006 and later expanded. The Monument was created specifically to protect an array of natural and cultural resources. Included within Papahānaumokuākea are two National Wildlife Refuges: the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge extending from Nīhoa Island to Pearl and Hermes Atoll, and Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Visit the Papahānaumokuākea website.


In 2006, Presidential Proclamation 8031 established a unique management structure and mandated a range of additional protections for the lands, water and resources of a vast area of the Pacific Ocean in the northwestern extent of the Hawaiian Archipelago. The creation of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument continued nearly a century of federal actions establishing protections for what is now one of the largest marine conservation areas on Earth.

In Papahānaumokuākea, the significance Native Hawaiians assign to ancestral and environmental resources is on equal platform with all other interests. Thus, the Native Hawaiian people have an unprecedented and valuable opportunity to fulfill an inherent kuleana and participate in the responsible management of this wahi kūpuna through meaningful inter-governmental relationships. With these concepts in mind, Papahānaumokuākea is a place where opposite ways of thinking- the spiritual and scientific, indigenous and “western” must learn to coexist and find common cause to benefit current and future generations. On-going activities conducted by Native Hawaiian scholars and cultural practitioners in modern times are patiently reconnecting us to an understanding of ancestral knowledge that has the potential to be applied to and affect archipelago-wide resource management for the betterment of the Native Hawaiian people.

The Papahānaumokuākea Program is one of four programs in the Advocacy Department within the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The purpose of the program is to oversee management responsibilities in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and foster effective inter-governmental relationships and community partnerships to support collaborative cultural and natural resource advocacy activities throughout the Hawaiian Archipelago.

For more information about OHA’s Papahānaumokuākea Program, please contact Kaaleleo Wong.

Cultural Briefing Video

Journey to Pihemanu Video

Resource Materials

Permitted Activities Annual Reports

Permitted Activities 2013 Annual Report

Papahānaumokuākea Permit Report 2013

Permitted Activities 2014 Annual Report

Papahānaumokuākea Permit Report 2014

Permitted Activities 2015 Annual Report

Papahānaumokuākea Permit Report 2015

Permitted Activities 2016 Annual Report

Papahānaumokuākea Permit Report 2016

Permitted Activities 2017 Annual Report

Papahānaumokuākea Permit Report 2017

Permitted Activities 2018 Annual Report

Papahānaumokuākea Permit Report 2018

Permitted Activities 2019 Annual Report

Papahānaumokuākea Permit Report 2019

Fact Sheet for World Heritage Nomination
World Heritage Inscription Executive Summary
Original Mele About Papahānaumokuākea

Learn the chants of Papahānaumokuākea.

Click below for text and audio versions of original mele composed for Papahānaumokuākea.

Puka Mai Ka Lā i Kumukahi

Puka Mai Ka Lā i Kumukahi – PDF Format

Puka mai ka lā i Kumukahi lā ‘eā
A welo ana i Lehua lā ‘eā
He Waialoha ka makani lā ‘eā
‘O Hawai‘iloa ke alahula lā ‘eā
I Hōlani ke ku‘ina, i Hōlanikū

The sun bursts forth at Kumukahi
And sets at Lehua
The wind is the Waialoha wind
Hawai‘iloa is the frequented pathway
Joining at Hōlani, at Hōlanikū

Native Hawaiian Permission and Release Protocol for ROV Deep Dives in Papahānaumokuākea

Permissions and release Protocol – PDF Format

E Kanaloahaunawele

Composed by Huihui Kanahele-Mossman

E Kanaloahaunawele
o ke kai uli a palaoa
I na ‘apana liʻiliʻi naʻu
i homai ai i ka ‘ike a ka hohonu
i pa’a ka makawalu a Kanaloa
Ola ke au a Kanaloa

Kanaloa the foundational element of the dark blue place of the Sperm Whale
a small piece for me so that I can receive the knowledge of the deep
in order to confirm the diversity of Kanaloa
Life to the water of Kanaloa

Mai lalo ka moana oʻo

Composed by Huihui Kanahele-Mossman

Mai lalo ka moana oʻo
Hanau ka ukoʻa, ‘ako i ke ‘akamai
Lana i ke kai o Mokupapapapa
Ola ke au a Kanaloa

From the bottom where the ocean is mottled
the polyps come forth that I may gather the intelligence
To that which floats on the surface of Mokupapapa
Long live the waters of Kanaloa

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