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The Pacific Remote Islands are one of the last wild and healthy marine ecosystems in the world, home to endangered sharks and resilient coral reefs, and deep-sea species found nowhere else on Earth.

These islands are also at the intersection of many ocean voyaging routes that connect all Pacific Island peoples and communities; they symbolize the forging of intergenerational knowledge and cultural values that could only be developed from living on islands at the center of the largest ocean on the planet.

As Pacific Island peoples, the ocean has always held a special place for us as the source from where life begins. In one of the origin stories for Native Hawaiians, out of darkness emerges all of our ohana, our family — the coral polyp was the first born in the darkness of the ocean, then came all of our marine ohana, then our winged and feathered ohana took flight, followed by the flora and fauna that adorn this world, including the star families.

We humans joined the family much later in the creation process.

This story demonstrates that we have a profound duty and privilege to malama — care for — these precious places that give life which also includes our ancestors of the deep, remote, and vast Pacific.

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