Talk:Mau Piailug/Archive 1

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Micronesian navigation

Mau Piailug is the best known living representative of the ancient tradition of Micronesian navigation. He has been featured in several books and films concerning this subject. Micronesian navigation is a system of navigating a traditional sailcraft by natural signs found in the sky and water. For example, a Micronesian navigator will take note of the presence of certain birds and sea animals, and will then know where the craft is on its heading. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dankoch (talkcontribs) 20:42 UTC, 30 Nov 2005.

This talk page posting can be leveraged with citation and greater illustrative precision. For instance, no evidence is supplied that Micronesian navigation [the style of non-instrument navigation as practiced by Piailug] can be applied only to traditional sailcraft. Rather, it is likely applicable to any craft. Since land-based seabirds typically limit their flight to within a species-unique range from land, for instance, sighting these species at sea, beyond sight of land, suggests the land's proximity within that species' range. As to the land's location relative to the bird's flight, the correct answer may be counterintuitive; the wrong interpretation would lead sailors away from land. Whereas birds sometimes fly to sea for food in the morning, to return to land in the evening, in nesting season, a bird spotted mid-morning may well be heading not out to sea, but back to land, to feed its offspring. For explanation, see Kawaharada, Dennis. "Wayfinding, or Non-Instrument Navigation". Education and Archive Site: Wayfinding Section (in en-US). Polynesian Voyaging Society. Retrieved 2008-08-29.  quoting Nainoa Thompson, sharing knowledge of how to read birds for navigation, learned from Mau. Newportm (talk) 19:12, 29 August 2008 (UTC)



A pronunciation tip for Mau's name, especially his last name, would be helpful. Newportm (talk) 17:58, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

I found this and will add to article.  –Newportm (talkcontribs) 08:11, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

Age of pwo ceremony and palu

After training over the course of the next twelve years, at the age of 18, Mau went through the sacred pwo ceremony, becoming a palu

Several sources say he was younger than 18, which is why I changed it to "in his teens", but it was changed back. Please provide the source for the age of 18. Viriditas (talk) 13:43, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
Ok, I see the source is Emma Brown at The Washington Post.[1] I'm not sure which source she is using. Viriditas (talk) 14:13, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
This section is paraphrased from Lewis' "The Voyaging Stars;" he mentions twelve years' training from the age of six and specifically says, "He was a ppalu (alternative spelling) at eighteen. Hipour, (another navigator) by contrast, was relatively mature when his father took him on his first voyage, to Pulusuk on a mat-sailed canoe--he was eight." page 134. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 14:54, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes, at 18, which could also imply that he became one before that age based on the more recently published sources. A minor point, but one that could be resolved by looking at other sources on the matter, or by describing it in general terms as I did before. This is a backburner issue, but I do try to verify that our articles are accurate. Viriditas (talk) 23:36, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
I'll cite the full section here on this talk page as I think it reduces uncertainty:

(from David Lewis' "The Voyaging Stars," New York: W.W. Norton, 1978, p. 134)

Piailug's father first took him to sea under formal instruction when he was six years old. Of his subsequent twelve years' training, the last five months was taken up by poa, the systematic instruction course of initiation that is conducted in the men's (canoe) house. He was a ppalu at eighteen. Hipour, by contrast, was relatively mature when his father took him on his first voyage, to Pulusuk on a mat-sailed canoe--he was eight.

Lewis' passage clarifies it for me, do you agree? By the way, I gather from this that poa precedes pwo, which is the final ceremony of recognition.  –Newportm (talkcontribs) 04:39, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
There are biographical discrepancies when compared with Finney's account in Vaka Moana: Voyages of the Ancestors (2007), and I also believe Finney was more acquainted with Mau over a longer period of time than Lewis. Lewis was only familiar with Mau from the one trip together in 1976, correct? To me, it sounds like Lewis is giving a rough, generalized account, whereas Finney actually goes into specifics on multiple occasions. In Vaka Moana, he writes:

Pialiug had started studying navigation in the mid-1930s when he was just five years old. His grandfather Raangipi abruptly ended the boy's carefree days playing on the beach and took him on as an apprentice navigator...[Finney goes on to describe this in some detail]...As Piailug grew older Raangipi began taking him on inter-island voyages and teaching him more and more intensively about the stars, swells and birds. Raangipi died when Piailug was around eleven or twelve, and his father, Orranipui, then briefly took over his education until he too died a year or so later...[Finney goes into more detail about Mau's education as a young boy]...When he was fifteen or sixteen, Piailug was ready and went through the pwo ceremony to initiate him into the secret teachings...of being a fully fledged palu. Right afterwards he was sequestered for a month in the canoe house, during which Angora and two other navigators drilled him day and night in relays. Only then was he allowed to make his first voyage as a palu.

According to sources describing Nainoa's and Sesario's induction, "pwo" is a final ceremonial right of passage; Lewis suggests the final intensive training period, lasting weeks or months, is called "poa," during which potions are drunk, celibacy is required, lessons are taken in the men's (canoe) house. Only after "pwo" has been performed, does the navigator become "palu." –Newportm (talkcontribs) 15:12, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
And after reading Metzgar's dissertation, this only gets more confusing. He cites occasions where youths who had not even begun navigation training were included in the pwo ceremony, to begin training after that. Metzgar mentions the palu taking a solo voyage to an isolated island and back to prove his skill, after which he is a true palu. In the case of Nainoa and the others who received pwo in 2007, they had already demonstrated this proficiency. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 22:54, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Because of the friendly relationship Finney had with Mau over time, and the fact that Finney not only goes into great detail, but hedges his dates, as well as the fact that this comes from a 2007 book, I'm leaning heavily towards going with Finney's account here. Although, I'm going from memory here, I believe the account by Sam Low (on his website and soon to be published book) also substantiates Finney's. I'm pretty sure there are others that do as well. Viriditas (talk) 10:20, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
I changed "at 18" to "around 18". –Newportm (talkcontribs) 15:12, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
More on palu, pwo, etc. from another pwo level navigator, Lambert Lokopwe from Pollap, in an interview by Sam Low done while sailing to Satawal during the Ku Holo Mau voyage (2007). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Newportm (talkcontribs) 06:36, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Revisiting this, I'm not entirely sure Lewis or Metzger are correct here. After watching Rosen's Mau Voyager (2008) there may be additional information lending weight to the ~1948 date, making Mau sixteen. In the documentary, Mau's brother says the missionaries started to arrive in 1948. Thomas (1987) writes, "When Piailug was fifteen or sixteen, Angora came to Satawal to perform the most important ceremony in Piailug's life, pwo."(118) And, Mau corroborates this with, "My pwo was held when Christianity first came to Satawal."(119). Viriditas (talk) 10:30, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Did they even have a calendar that many people had access to on Satawal in those years? I wonder how they knew when it was 1948 or 1950. Maybe there was a calendar in the little schoolhouse that had 1948 on it, and as long as it was hanging, it was 1948? They could probably tell seasons by the way the stars moved, but they may have had little reason to keep track of just when New Year's Eve came around and the western world incremented its calendar by a digit. Just a thought. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 14:29, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
They may have had better access to calendars once "Christianity arrived" due to the importance of dates in religion... –Newportm (talkcontribs) 14:38, 4 August 2010 (UTC)



An image of Hokulea would look good in that section. Viriditas (talk) 23:40, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

Added one. Feel free to replace it with another of your choice. Viriditas (talk) 04:00, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

I have received Gail Evenari's permission to upload her image of Mau; my email thread on this has just been submitted to OTRS. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 01:16, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Please remember to adjust the color and lighting and covert to jpeg before uploading. Viriditas (talk) 02:10, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
Strike that. Gif's should not be converted. Viriditas (talk) 03:05, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

Fairy Tern


Which Fairy Tern are we talking about? Gygis alba or Sternula nereis? The link goes to White Tern, in which case, we should disambiguate for the reader by adding the species name. Viriditas (talk) 04:03, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

Okay, it's the White Tern found on islands throughout the tropics as opposed to the Fairy Tern found in the southwestern Pacific (Australia/New Zealand). I'll add the (Gygis alba). –Newportm (talkcontribs) 04:26, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
There is no good reason to use the "Fairy Tern" name. Is there an objection to simply changing it to White Tern? Viriditas (talk) 10:00, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
It is commonly known as "Fairy Tern;" but it is more correctly called "White Tern." Finney, 1994, "Voyage of Rediscovery" p. 69 and elsewhere throughout, muddles this by calling them "White fairy terns" (no such animal). The true Fairy Tern is found in the SW Pacific. White Tern has a Hawaiian name, too, "Manu-o-ku." While walking heavily wooded trails on Palmyra, I have seen white terns zipping up, down, and through the forest; they are like little fairies, never hitting the branches, but occasionally settling on them. I'll remove the mask to Fairy Tern.  –Newportm (talkcontribs) 14:50, 26 July 2010 (UTC)


Resolved: Trivia at this point.
The "compass" he carried was not magnetic, but a mental model of where islands are located, and the star points which one could use to navigate between them.

This is sort of "out there" in X-Files territory, but this is from Finney, Ben. (Jun., 1995) "A Role for Magnetoreception in Human Navigation?" Current Anthropology. The University of Chicago Press. 36:3 pp. 500-506:

...recent instances in which noninstrument navigators sailing in canoes over the open Pacific have been able to orient themselves when it was impossible for them to take bearings from the stars, sun, or ocean swells suggest that they may be able to orient themselves on the geomagnetic field....The canoe navigation incidents recounted here suggest that it might be fruitful to conduct controlled experiments on magnetoreception with accomplished noninstrument navigators. The subjects–typically students–usually employed in magnetoreception experiments have been navigationally naive in comparison with such Pacific island masters as Mau Piailug and Nainoa Thompson. If there are striking differences in performance between young birds without navigational experience and veterans of migrational or homing flight, might not this also be the case for humans?

There might be a way to mention this in a footnote, but it would have to be done very carefully as this is highly controversial. However, the paper is an interesting survey of the research. Viriditas (talk) 14:46, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

Okay, you put it in!  :)  –Newportm (talkcontribs) 14:51, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
No way! :) We need a guinea pig. Viriditas (talk) 14:53, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

Dissertation: Eric Metzgar; Traditional Education in Micronesia...


In this dissertation (opens to the page mentioned) Eric Metzgar talks about Traditional Education in Micronesia with specific references to teaching of navigation and pwo where he notes that poa is an alternative spelling given by Lewis in his "The Voyaging Stars."  –Newportm (talkcontribs) 17:03, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

Metzgar addresses the specific quandary about Mau's age (opens the pdf to that page) at his pwo initiation. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 21:12, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Wow, you deserve a barnstar for finding that nugget. Viriditas (talk) 22:02, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

Per Metzgar (1991:231), the date discrepancy regarding Mau's initiation in the pwo ceremony on Satawal, between Lewis (1978:134) saying sometime around 1950 and Thomas (1987:118) saying 1947 or 1948, should be mentioned as a footnote, with Metzgar favoring a time sometime between 1950-1952. Viriditas (talk) 22:04, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

I tried. You are better at this; please feel free to make it right.  –Newportm (talkcontribs) 01:08, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Done. Viriditas (talk) 12:56, 28 July 2010 (UTC)



Various sources appear to refer to him as illiterate, but I'm not entirely sure if this is correct. It does seem to make sense, however, because Mau relied on his good memory and long years of experience, not books. Viriditas (talk) 12:45, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

I can't confirm illiteracy per se. He conversed in both English and Satawalese. It's likely he may not have known how to write. I read somewhere that the first formal schoolhouse came to Satawal in Mau's lifetime; Metzgar mentions how he found pages from schoolbooks torn out and used for sundry purposes. Apparently strong commitment remained (when Metzgar was there at least) to traditional oral methods of teaching. It's suggestive that Mau didn't write, but I didn't come across that explicit statement. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 14:16, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Kyselka (1987) states several times in an offhand manner that Mau can't read, which again, is not really all that surprising. However, this should be contrasted with Mau's ability to "read" (or "see" as he calls it) the ocean environment for clues and navigational signs. There's something very important in that distinction, and it would be wonderful to discuss it in the article as I think it seriously challenges our notion of what "literacy" really means. I'm especially impressed by his active silence in the canoe, listening, smelling, tasting, and looking at everything for directional hints. The man was more literate than the greatest scholar. He didn't need books; He could read the world. Viriditas (talk) 23:41, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
The Wikiquotes page for Mau is fantastic. Apparently literacy is not a prerequisite for vision. Beyond his navigator's vision of how to reach islands far over the horizon, he shares profound thoughts about Westernization and monetization on his tiny, remote island. You can tell Mau's English is not native, but you can't miss his wisdom. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 22:00, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
I think we need to say something about his literacy in the article, but I don't know which sources to use or how to say it. Perhaps we could put this thread on hold until we deal with the more important stuff? Viriditas (talk) 09:23, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Mau as canoe builder


Article mentions canoe building, but doesn't say Mau was a master. For only one example, Mau helped supervise the building of the Mauloa from 1992-1993. Viriditas (talk) 12:56, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

Anything you can find about Mau's canoe building skills and participation in such projects would be helpful. I've got some stuff around here somewhere but won't be able to get to it until later. Also, it seems he appeared in several productions of some kind, so we could expand that as well. Viriditas (talk) 01:12, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Still seem to be lacking information on his canoe building skills and work in this regard. Also, does the article mention his preference for Hawaiian canoes over those of Micronesia? Viriditas (talk) 02:01, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

I am unaware of his preference--did he like the catamaran over the outrigger? I wonder if that was because a catamaran has expansive deck area by comparison. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 03:26, 4 August 2010 (UTC)



The history behind the nickname is given in the Ferrar (2006) article in the further reading section. I'll try and add it later. Viriditas (talk) 04:48, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

I read it's supposed to mean "Courage;" where was that?...  –Newportm (talkcontribs) 05:00, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
I could not find any material which conflicts with Derek Ferrar's 2006 information; Ferrar also directly quotes Mau on his nickname, so I thought I'd leave this follow-up comment in support of your observation. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 04:10, 31 July 2010 (UTC)

Smithsonian content for awards/legacy section

Pialug was honored in 2000 at the Smithsonian. We should try and get a copy of the transcripts as they will provide useful material. According to Lawrence Small, a former secretary at the Smithsonian, Mau Piailug was largely responsible for the "rebirth of non-instrument navigation".[2] The Ferrar (2006) article in further reading also says he was honored at the ceremony as "one of the most important influences in the resurgence of cultural pride in the Pacific." Some of this might go well in the lead. Ferrar's article also says Mau was "featured in award-winning documentaries". Can we find out which ones? I think there were at least two. Viriditas (talk) 12:56, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Found two articles mentioned in the indexes, but little content as of yet:
Clearly one was carried on PBS, it's Wayfinders: A Pacific Odyssey by Gail Evenari, who graciously gave us use of the image of Mau. The film also has its own dedicated website. I'll see if I can find the second. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 21:56, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Another film, Hokule'a: Guiding Star was co-produced by Naʻalehu Anthony (see) and Leah Kihara ([see) and screened at the Smithsonian in June 2002. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 22:11, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Steve Thomas also produced The Last Navigator —Preceding unsigned comment added by Newportm (talkcontribs) 22:29, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
For what it's worth, the Thomas film, co-produced with Andre Singer, won a silver medal for documentary in Sardinia.
PVS has a whole page of film & video, not all are documentaries about Mau of course. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 22:38, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Good work. Viriditas (talk) 09:20, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

In the The Honolulu Advertiser for Mar 15, 2007, Jan Tenbruggencate writes: "Mau Piailug, who played a pivotal role in the renaissance of long-distance canoe voyaging in Hawai'i. He taught the once-secret skills of non-instrument navigation to Hawaiian sailors - an art so arcane that a half-century ago, scholars wrote books claiming there was no such thing." Do we have more information about this denial, or was Tenbruggencate merely being poetic? Viriditas (talk) 12:47, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

The Andrew Sharp "accidental voyaging" hypothesis of 1957 discounted the likelihood of intentional non-instrument voyages. Finney disagreed with the hypothesis; so together with Herb Kane and Tommy Holmes, founded PVS to investigate the question (see founders and mission). Captain James Cook, through Tupaia (new book about Tupaia), gained knowledge that would have otherwise been closely held. Before his death in 1779, Cook hypothesized that Polynesians shared common ancestry; he even pinned their origin to Asia. This might not be "encyclopedic," but one could say Sharp advanced the devil's advocate side of the debate, which in turn motivated the Hokule'a project. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 18:07, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
I think most of this material should appear in the article for backstory, especially the reason for the founding of PVS. Viriditas (talk) 21:35, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
The lead should contain a general statement summarizing the awards and honors he received, and the books and the films either about or featuring him. Viriditas (talk) 13:37, 30 July 2010 (UTC)


Mau visited Washington, D.C. as part of committee renogiating FSM Compact Agreement as mentioned in the FSM Press Information Officer's obit about Mau. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 22:35, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Looked and couldn't find anything other than the obit. Should we look in the Congressional Quarterly for 2000? Is that the right date? Viriditas (talk) 14:34, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Wayfinding and navigation

We need to make an extra effort to focus on Mau in this section. I realize that's already true indirectly, but we need to make it explicit for the reader. Otherwise, a GA reviewer will see this and say, "Why isn't this about Mau?" But you know, we do have good sources that talk about this information in relation to Mau, so it shouldn't be too hard. In any case, I don't think anything needs to be removed at all, just modified or expanded, do please, don't delete anything. Viriditas (talk) 09:19, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I understand that question. From what I've read, we would not know any of this but for Mau. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 18:20, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

FYI... I'm working on creating a star compass for upload. Might take some time. Viriditas (talk) 10:18, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

I could do fairly quickly but didn't have the Carolinian, Satawalese names for the stars, so I did not bother. I do have the Hawaiian names and the English names of course.  –Newportm (talkcontribs) 18:20, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Ah, I didn't get that far. Do you think a nice graphic with little rocks as the compass would work, instead of just a circle with dots and lines? If I can find you the names (I thought I ran across them earlier) I'll pass them on to you and you can make it if you like. Viriditas (talk) 21:30, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
I would like your opinion on 1) a star compass photograph of my creation in the sand at the beach using little shells and rocks, along the lines of what I have seen on the web (but don't have releases for); or 2) a line drawing created on the computer. The info required can be found here. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 04:21, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
Use both! Create the compass in the sand with the shells and rocks, and then photograph it. Import it into a photo editor of your choice and add a layer transparency on top of it so that the line drawing appears faintly above it. Viriditas (talk) 08:29, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
Looks good. Viriditas (talk) 02:39, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
A second paragraph in the lead section should describe and summarize a bit more about Mau's wayfinding technique in either one or two sentences. Viriditas (talk) 13:36, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

I think we've got a lot of expansion to do in this section, particularly in regards to two areas. 1) Navigation terminology and and systems are sparse here and could do with some explanation. I'm thinking of etak, fu taur, kapesani lang, etc. Lots to add here. 2) We should also give at least one example of how Mau actually uses the system to navigate per Thomas (1987) and other authors. Viriditas (talk) 02:39, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

Found this helpful pdf –Newportm (talkcontribs) 00:53, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
I think it's important to summarize the main aspects of non-instrument wayfinding used by Mau in the lead section. One or two sentences should be fine. Viriditas (talk) 05:13, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Mau Piailug Society

Is this notable enough to mention? I notice several sources talk about it, and there is even a YouTube group by the same name with lots of videos, but I'm not sure if it is the same organization. Viriditas (talk) 09:53, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

There's also a Yap Traditional Navigation Society that was formed in 2005. Although I don't have all the facts just yet, some information indicates that it was formed because of the attention Mau brought to the islands. Viriditas (talk) 11:55, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

In this new era of GPS, fiberglass boats and 200 horsepower motors traditional navigation techniques are quickly being forgotten. It is the goal of YTNS to preserve this as it is one of Yap’s most important traditions. Mau Piailug has been the forerunner of this movement by bringing the art of traditional Yapese navigating to the headlines with his historic voyage leading the Hokule’a Hawaiian sailing canoe across the Pacific Ocean, using time honored Yapese techniques. Many who know of the world famous Hokule’a voyage are not aware that the navigator leading the voyage was from the outer island of Yap, Satawal. The Islands of Yap continue to be the bulwark of Pacific traditions and culture and the efforts of the Traditional Navigation Society attest to this.[3]

Hidden unsourced comments

Resolved: Appears to be editorial opinion. No sources as of yet.
Steve Thomas describes studying navigation under Mau Piailug in his book The Last Navigator. The title enraged Satawalese people, including Mau himself, because there are still a few navigators in Caroline islands and other Micronesia and Polynesian outliers. In addition, Thomas wrote this book without Mau's permission. In the summer of 2006, chiefs of Satawal sent protestation papers to the publisher of the book.

Moving this to talk for archival purposes, as I'm now deleting it from the article sans sources. Also, considering the book was published in 1987, why was there an alleged protest in 2006? I realize the coconut wireless is slow, but we should see some sources on this. Viriditas (talk) 02:11, 1 August 2010 (UTC)


Should probably be in the lead rather than a note. I like the style of {{pron-en}}. We should also upload an ogg file of someone speaking his name and link to it, along with a {{respell}} key. Viriditas (talk) 12:19, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

I looked at {{respell}} and it suggests using {{USdict}} for the dipthong in Mau's first name; so I'll look further into that. I'll also see if there is a volunteer in ".ogg land" who might be able to help us with that. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 23:35, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
Made request for an .ogg file of Mau's name at WT:APR. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 21:43, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Gordon 2006 Reference


The Gordon article in the Honolulu Advertiser can be found on the HA site. Is it possible to incorporate a direct link to the online article using this referencing system? I tried clicking the Gordon article ISSN number but that only leads to local libraries that have hard copy. Also, seeming to contradict Gordon's 1969 death date, Nainoa recalls (see 1 and 2) that PVS had contacted a Polynesian navigator, Tevake, in the early 1970's, before Hokulea was built. Of joining the 1976 voyage, Tevake had replied, "We'll see." Unfortuntely Tevake died not long after. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 17:17, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

Done. My mistake for forgetting to add it. Could you fix the contradiction by either removing it in its entirety and adding Thompson instead, or figuring out another way to write it? I don't like the quote as it is, and if Gordon has his information wrong, we should go with the PVS. Viriditas (talk) 21:25, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Concept of "the last Polynesian navigator."

Lewis, 1994, "We, the Navigators" notes (p.173) both Tevake and Bongi as navigators but suggests Tevake had been superior. Lewis describes Kruso Kaveia (p.28) of the Polynesian outlier, Taumako, as "Tevake's pupil." So Tevake had contemporaries and students of his own, but possibly none of these gained significant attention of the Western world, as Tevake had done through contact with David Lewis, or else (my speculation) had not gained Tevake's level of mastery. Rodo Williams, a Tahitian aboard for the 1976 Hokule'a voyage, had some non-instrument skills but these may not have been of Mau's caliber. I read (somewhere...) that Rodo wished he "had listened more closely" when his father was teaching him.

  • Date of Tevake's death.

On page "v" of the front papers, Lewis mentions Tevake "lost at sea" in 1970. Through subsequent inquiry, more was learned. Nainoa mentions receipt in the "early 1970's" of a letter from Tevake's daughter on her father's passing. Both Lewis, 1994, p. 355, and Kyselka, 1987, "An Ocean in Mind," p. 37, describe the ill Tevake holding a sort of "formal farewell" celebration with friends and family before paddling out to die by himself in his canoe, "in the manner of his people," says Kyselka. So he had not been lost as sea in some sort of navigational accident. Kyselka and Lewis refine Nainoa's date of Tevake's death to 1970, which contradicts Gordon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Newportm (talkcontribs) 02:44, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Excellent analysis. I like what you've done with the quote, but I see no need to keep it in the article. Recommend deletion and rewriting as prose using Lewis and Kyselka instead. Source can be stored in further reading or used somewhere else if so needed. Viriditas (talk) 05:00, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
Nicely done. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 13:54, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Slight expansion needed

Finney disagreed with the Sharp hypothesis; along with Herb Kane and Tommy Holmes, he founded the Polynesian Voyaging Society to investigate the question.[38] With the help of Mau's navigational knowledge, Hōkūle‘a demonstrated that intentional two-way voyaging throughout Oceania was possible. Developments in the relatively new field of DNA analysis have unequivocally settled the debate of Polynesian origin; Polynesians share common ancestors with indigenous Taiwanese and East Asians.

The connection between Finney's work and the "debate of Polynesian origin" as summarized by the latest DNA results, needs to be made explicit for the average reader. Granted, it already says (or implies) that he was pursuing the intentional voyaging hypothesis, but how does this connect with Polynesian origins in East Asia? Viriditas (talk) 01:33, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Another omission is the reason why Polynesians were thought to be unable to make intentional voyages. Since Mau's knowledge helped contribute to research that argues otherwise, the original objection should be made clear. Viriditas (talk) 02:11, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

I'll work on these tonight. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 03:34, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Daily life for Mau


In my reading, I came across evidence of division between the sexes when it came to taro gathering (women's work) versus fishing (men's work). Of course this information was not specific to Mau, but broad. Unless we have specific info on Mau's gardening, we might modify that section to read something like..."daily life in Mau's village consisted of..." to step around that. It also suggested the men and women would sing playful, but bawdy songs to one another when the men would come home with their catch. These songs are almost inappropriate to reprint here (though I have definitely seen worse on Wikipedia), but they would sing, each to the other, basically, look at all the food I have brought forth while you have been "playing with yourself." Pretty hysterical. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 03:32, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Agreed. Could you make the changes? Viriditas (talk) 03:42, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Sure. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 03:44, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Honolulu, Hawaii section

Mau first visited Hawaii in 1973, where McCoy introduced him to Ben Finney. Later, Finney suggested to the Polynesian Voyaging Society that they should try to recruit Mau for their Hōkūle‘a project,[1] since no Hawaiian native navigators remained

We need to very briefly explain what kind of project Finney and the PVS were trying to recruit Mau for here. We can't assume the reader knows what we are talking about. Viriditas (talk) 09:38, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Added brief explanation. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 21:46, 4 August 2010 (UTC)


From Thomas (1987:45): 16 children (ten boys and six girls): Antonio, Mesailuke, Inaiman, Halig, Battista, Uru, Jesus, Bonefacio, Anton, Howie, Naimorman, Marigot, Emilia, Marcia, Carlita, and Sandra.

I cannot reconcile this with the current list. Either we are dealing with alternative names and spellings (which is possible) or Mau has more than 16 kids! Viriditas (talk) 10:55, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Pretty interesting. All the different last names in the same family, that is different to my experience too. For instance, sons Antonio Piailug and Henry Yarofalpiy. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 14:35, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

See also


What's your opinion of adding a See also section, and therein including History of the Polynesian people? The information there is excellent. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 22:08, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

My opinion is, experiment, try new things, break stuff. If it doesn't work, we can always change it. Now, with that said, the first question I ask when an editor wants to add a see also section is, can the link be added inline or as a header to a section? Personally, I use the see also section in the same way that I use the further reading section, as a holding pen for content that can be potentially moved into the article. Viriditas (talk) 22:12, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
I worked it into the last paragraph of the Legacy section. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 22:24, 4 August 2010 (UTC)


The use of semicolons is becoming a problem, breaking up the flow of the prose. Ideally, I would like to see most, if not all of them removed, unless they are needed. I would recommend making an attempt at reading the prose aloud as this will help put one in the mind of a disinterested reader who has never seen this page before and is ignorant of the topic. Beginner's mind can help here. The reader should not have to work at understanding this article, and the semicolons interrupt the text. Words should flow like a gentle stream, with the reader as a canoe, floating along, enjoying the ride, not fighting the rough rapids of unnecessary punctuation. Viriditas (talk) 03:23, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Thank you for speaking up. In the case of "Mau's connection to the sea began early, and he was placed in tide pools as an infant so he could feel the pull of the ocean" there are two independent clauses weakly joined with a comma and "and," a coordinating conjunction. The two clauses say the same thing in different ways, so the semicolon pauses the reader--a dash would do the same--to counterpoise the independent clauses. Another way to handle this example would be to interweave them. For example, "Mau's connection to the sea began in infancy when he was placed in tide pools so he could feel the pull of the ocean." This offers the additional benefit of being more concise. In the case of "During the evening, Mau would join the men in the canoe house as they drank, and he would listen to stories about navigation and sailing" what would you think of this, "During the evening, when Mau would join the men in the canoe house as they drank, he would listen to their stories about navigation and sailing." That takes the two independent clauses, again weakly joined, and makes one depend from the other. I'd say that if we are to this point of examination of style, we are down to the nitty-gritty. Best wishes. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 05:28, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
This is generally referred to as "citerion 1a" on both WP:GACR and WP:FACR, so it's not so much "nitty-gritty" as it is a separate requirement. If you look at all of the threads on this talk page, you'll see that they all are rooted in at least one of these attributes. Viriditas (talk) 09:44, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
You offered no rebuttal to my specific illustrations from the page, nor do you indicate how use of ", and" follows from WP:GAC. On the WP:PEA page, there is someone else's example of linking otherwise independent clauses by making one depend on the other. It shows, "Dylan was included in Time's 100: The Most Important People of the Century, where he was called "master poet, caustic social critic and intrepid, guiding spirit of the counterculture generation." "Where" relates the list of Dylan's attributes to Time's list. If we remove "where," to spin that apart into two independent clauses weakly joined with ", and" the sentence becomes this, "Dylan was included in Time's 100: The Most Important People of the Century, and he was called "master poet, caustic social critic and intrepid, guiding spirit of the counterculture generation." The ", and" join does not indicate relationship between the clauses. In our text, in our first example, above, "Mau's connection to the sea began early, and he was placed in tide pools so he could feel the pull of the ocean" also does not indicate relationship between the clauses. Two independent clauses is another way of saying there are two sentences. The first is "Mau's connection to the sea began early" while "He was placed in tide pools so he could feel the pull of the ocean" is the second. To simply join these with a coordinating conjunction just creates a serial list of ideas. I initially replaced the weak join, ", and" with a semicolon. Because of your objection, I offered a rewrite integrating the two clauses. These two particular clauses both describe Mau's early connection to the sea. The first states the fact, the second states the "how." A weak join with ", and" does not serve the reader as well as the integrated version, "Mau's connection to the sea began in infancy when he was placed in tide pools so he could feel the pull of the ocean." If it is your preference to string concepts along in serial list format, think twice about your application of ", and." It's my opinion it is not the best style in some circumstances. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 16:30, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
You are welcome to rewrite it in any style you prefer. I find, however, that when I pretend to be a reader, not an editor, the semicolons act as speedbumps rather than moving me along. Putting myself in that position, I would stop reading and move on to another article. As long as we can draw the reader in, keep them interested, and tie everything together with a thread that helps guide them through this labyrinth, we've done our job. Ideally, a reader should be able to read the lead section and come away with a good understanding of the topic, so that still needs to be expanded. Most of the semicolons occur in section 1, so we want to make an effort not to push the reader away at this early stage, but to hold their hand. Viriditas (talk) 17:32, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I concur. Thanks for the feedback. Just to be a bona fide PITA, it should be, "draw the reader in, keep him interested, etc..." –Newportm (talkcontribs) 19:41, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
The use of "him" has fallen out of favor. Our reader could be a woman, or perhaps an intelligent ape or dolphin. Joking aside, the question hinges on whether to use "reader" or "readers". You obviously don't see it as meaning more than one, however, the way that I used it implies many. When we speak of "the reader" on Wikipedia, we are talking about a "group" of people who browse this site. Viriditas (talk) 20:47, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I get hung up on simple subject-verb agreement sometimes :) –Newportm (talkcontribs) 21:43, 5 August 2010 (UTC)


Looks like a great article to me. I have done a bit of minor copyediting - I took out the word native except where it was Native Hawaiians, since it has negative connations to some of us Polynesians, and it seemed to me that words like traditional could substitute without changing the sense. One thing I noticed was that words like Hōkūle'a need to be created the same way - with the okina template or without, as long as it's consistent. Kahuroa (talk) 21:30, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

I believe I've found most of the sources. It will take me a day or so to finish adding them. Viriditas (talk) 01:25, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Let's know if I can help. By the way I think my copy of Vaka Moana will be the NZ edition, not sure pages numbers will be the same as the US version.Kahuroa (talk) 02:20, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Uncited Reference

Removed an uncited reference from "References" section which was contributed by an editor with the same initials as the writer of the source. –Newportm (talkcontribs) 18:41, 1 February 2011 (UTC)