Matson, a leading U.S. carrier in the Pacific, continued its 20th anniversary celebration in Guam and Micronesia with a special vessel naming ceremony honoring one of Micronesia’s most renowned navigators — Pius “Mau” Piailug, fondly known in the Pacific navigation community as “Papa Mau.”
Members of the Piailug family arrived from islands throughout Micronesia to attend the ceremony at the Port Authority of Guam, and members of the Yapese community on Guam honored Piailug’s memory with traditional performances as the vessel was officially blessed and named “Papa Mau.”
“Matson is proud to christen the newest vessel in its Guam / Micronesia service Papa Mau in honor of ‘Mau’ Piailug’s singular influence in the perpetuation of traditional wayfinding and celestial navigation,” said Bernadette Valencia, Matson general manager for Guam and Micronesia. “As the Papa Mau navigates the islands in the Pacific for many years to come, we will be reminded of ‘Mau’s’ far reaching legacy.”
Piailug, who passed away in 2010, was from the island of Satawal and widely known for sharing his knowledge with navigators throughout the Pacific. In 1976, he guided the crew of the Hawaii voyaging canoe Hokule´a on its historic 34-day voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti using nothing but traditional navigation methods.
Nainoa Thompson, Hokule’a navigator, president of Polynesian Voyaging Society and one of five Hawaii navigators upon whom Piailug bestowed the traditional master navigator title of pwo in 2007, said of the ship naming, “It honors his name, his legacy and what he has done for all Pacific people.”