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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pius Mau Piailug[1] (born 1932) is a Micronesian navigator, one of the best-known living practitioners of the ancient art of navigation without the aid of instruments.



Born on the island of Satawal in the Caroline Islands, Mau received his knowledge of navigation from an early age, taught first by his grandfather. When he was around 18, through training of a master navigator, he went through sacred ceremony called Pwo. Through this he became "Paliuw" by a master navigator, through the Weriyeng School of Navigation. Weriyeng School of Navigation, which began on Pollap Island a long, long time ago, is only one of two schools of navigation left in Micronesia.

He is best known for his work with the Hawaii-based Polynesian Voyaging Society, navigating the double-hulled canoe Hokule‘a from Hawaii to Tahiti on its maiden voyage in 1976, and training and mentoring Native Hawaiian navigator Nainoa Thompson, who would later become a master navigator in his own right.[2]

Alingano Maisu

On March 18, 2007 Piailug presided over the first Pwo ceremony for navigators on Satawal in 56 years. At the event five native Hawaiians and eleven others were inducted into Pwo as master navigators. The Polynesian Voyaging Society presented Piailug a canoe, the Alingano Maisu, as a gift for his key role in reviving traditional wayfinding navigation in Hawaii.

Alingano Maisu was built in Kawaihae, Hawaii under the non- profit organization, Nā Kalai Waʻa Moku O Hawaiʻi . The commitment to build this "gift" for Mau was made by Clay Bertelmann, Captain of Makali‘i and Hokule‘a. Maisu was given to Mau on behalf of all the voyaging families and organizations that are now actively continuing to sail and practice the traditions taught by Mau Piailug.[3]


  1. ^ "Canoes Take to Pacific, Guided by Stars and Sun" (in en-US). Late Edition (East Coast) (New York Times): pp. A 12. 1995-02-13. Retrieved 2009-08-27.  (ProQuest document id# 675266411) Notes name is pronounced "pee-EYE-lug"
  2. ^ Unattributed (2007-04-11). "Hokule’a 2007 Voyage to Micronesia Bearing Gift for Mau Piailug" (in en-US). OIA Press Release. United States Department of the Interior, Office of Insular Affairs. Retrieved 2008-09-23.  
  3. ^ Unattributed. "New Voyaging Canoe for Mau Piailug" (in en-US). Mālama Hawai‘i News: 2007 Voyage to Micronesia and Japan. Mālama Hawaiʻi. Retrieved 2008-09-23.  


  • Ben Finney; Hokule'a : A way to Tahiti (Dodd, Mead and CO., 1978)
  • Will Kyselka; An Ocean in Mind (Hawaii University Press, 1987)
  • David Lewis; We, the Navigators
  • Stephen D. Thomas; The last navigator : a young man, an ancient mariner, the secrets of the sea (International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, 1997 ISBN 0-07-064574-4)

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