Papahanaumokuakea, Hawaii, U.S.A.
This site is located approximately 250 km northwest of the main island of Hawaii and covers more than 1,931 km. The heritage site has an area of 362,074 km2 and is one of the largest marine protected areas in the world. The protection site comprises a group of linear low-elevation islands and atolls and the surrounding ocean areas. The site is the ancestral home of the existing Hawaiian aboriginal culture and has many religious and traditional cultural meanings. It represents the interaction between humans and nature. It is also believed to be the cradle of life as well as the place where the soul returns after death. Archaeological remains of human settlements and land use from before European colonisation have been unearthed at Nihoa and Makumanamana. Papahanaumokuakea’s main natural heritage consists of pelagic creatures and habitats, including distinctive seamounts, sandy beaches, vast coral reefs and large lagoons.