Finding Our Way

Documentary on Micronesian navigator Mau visits Molokai.

From left to right: Penny Martin, Hokule`a crew member, Chadd Paishon, Hokule`a captain, crew members Kekama Helm, Mel Paoa, Kanani Kahalehoe, and filmmaker Alan Rosen.

By Catherine Cluett

Last Wednesday evening, Molokai was introduced to a documentary on Mau Piailug, modern day master in the ancient art of navigation without the aid of instruments. He came to Hawaii because he felt people weren’t ready for the cultural knowledge he had to offer in his homeland of Micronesia.

Piailug and the crew he trained, members of the Hawaii-based Polynesian Voyaging Society, successfully navigated the double-hulled wa`a Hokule`a from Hawaii to Tahiti in 1976. Mau is credited with the rebirth of ancient wayfinding in Hawaii and he was also the trainer and mentor of Hawaiian navigator Nainoa Thompson, who went on to become a master navigator in his own right.

The film, entitled “Mau Voyager” is a three-hour documentary of Mau’s later life. Filmmaker Alan Rosen says he’s taking his film on a Hawaiian tour before it’s released to PBS. “I wanted to take it to the communities first,” he explains. He also emphasized that Mau himself actually okayed the film before it was completed. Chadd Paishon, captain of the Hokule`a, also shared his mana`o on the film and voyage.


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