Pacific Islander Biography

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Piailug, Mau (1932–2010)

by Ben Finney

Mau Piailug (1932–) is one of the leading navigators on Satawal in the Federated States of Micronesia where traditional navigation is still vigorously practised. When he was only five or six, Mau started learning traditional wayfinding from his grandfather, and was formally initiated as a navigator (pelu) some 10 years later. In 1976 he navigated the reconstructed Polynesian voyaging canoe HÖKÜLEÿA on her maiden voyage to Tahiti, and subsequently trained the Hawaiian navigator Nainoa Thompson. He has become widely respected throughout the Pacific for his navigational skills and his willingness to share them with aspiring navigators from other islands, for which he has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Hawaii.

Original Publication

  • The Pacific Islands: An Encyclopedia, edited by Brij V. Lal and Kate Fortune, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 2000, p 81

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Ben Finney, 'Piailug, Mau (1932–2010)', Pacific Islander Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 10 July 2020.

© Copyright Pacific Islander Biography, 2012