Master Navigator Mau Piailug Dies

Micronesian Helped Spread Traditional Navigation

 UPDATED 9:11 PM HST Jul 12, 2010

The man many considered to be the father of the re-emergence of traditional Polynesian navigation, Mau Piailug, died.

Piailug died on his native island of Satawal in Micronesia at 6:30 p.m. Micronesia time Monday.

The master navigator taught Hawaii master navigator Nainoa Thompson how to navigate by the stars and oceans in the 1970s, which led to the birth of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the building of the Hokulea. The voyaging canoe Hokulea spurred the renaissance of the Hawaiian cultural movement.

Since that training, Piailug and Thompson have helped train dozens of navigators around the Pacific, including Hawaii, the Cook Islands and Micronesia.

Piailug was 78.

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