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Born is the Coral Polyp, A Creation Story from Hawai’i

January 5, 2022

Malia K. Evans, NOAA’s Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Wai’anae, Hawai’i

Emerging from the deep darkness was the tiny coral polyp, the first life form born in the Kumulipo, a Hawaiian creation story. The 2,100 line chant establishes and reaffirms the family relationships Native Hawaiians maintain to the natural environment, to each other and to our oldest ancestor the coral polyp. This presentation and hands-on activity will explore this sacred origin story as we deepen our understanding of Native Hawaiian oral traditions, basic coral polyp anatomy and the practice of mālama ‘āina, to care for and respect the natural world around us.  ACTIVITY DURING THE WEBINAR:  We made our own coral polyp art during the webinar. Click here for instructions and a full materials list! Submit your artwork here for us to post on our website!

Resources to access at home:

»   Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument main page:  This site has a map of the Monument, links to education resources, virtual visits, voices of Papahānaumokuākea, and more.
»    Native Hawaiian Cultural Heritage:  Native Hawaiians still remain deeply connected to Papahānaumokuākea on genealogical, cultural, and spiritual levels. This website dives into the cultural research and significance.
»   Mai Ka Pō-Return to the Source:  Read about Maliaʻs journey into the sacred space of Papahānaumokuākea in July 2019.
»   Layne Luna mural: Identify some of the spectacular wildlife in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument that depend on healthy coral reefs.
»    Hawaiian Place Names map:  Learn the ancestral Hawaiian names of these islands & coral atolls and their locations within Papahānaumokuākea.
»   Poster map of the Hawaiian Archipelago – The eldest island in the Hawaiian archipelago; Hōlanikū is over 28 million years old while the youngest is an active underwater volcano named Kamaʻehuakanaloa.
»   Beyond Science Into Pō – Learn how Native Hawaiians reconnect and build relationships with ancestral islands in Papahānaumokuākea (story map)
»   Hidden picture activity – Find some of the unique creatures that live in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument on the first page, then learn about them on the second page!
»   Journeybook-print.pdf – Learn a few traditional Hawaiian proverbs paired with organisms that make their home in Papahānaumokuākea in this activity book.
»    15 min video of a coral reef – Join aquarist and educator Michael Caban on an underwater search to explore a shallow coral reef ecosystem, and learn about various organisms, coral bleaching and steps you can take to be a good reef steward.
»   Maze activity – Discover what makes Papahānaumokuākea special. The correct answers will guide you through the islands and coral atolls of the Hawaiian archipelago.
»   Recent Nautilus live expeditions into Papahānaumokuākea:

Luʻuaeaahikiikalipolipo – Mapping Liliʻuokalani Seamounts in Papahānaumokuākea MNM October 24-November 13, 2021
Luʻuaeaahikiikapapakū – Ancient Volcanoes in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument November 15-December 6, 2021
Luʻuaeaahikiikekualonokai – Chautauqua Seamounts December 8-20, 2021