Story: Waka – canoes

Mau Piailug, navigator

In 1992, Te Aurere, a replica double-hull canoe, sailed to Rarotonga from New Zealand. It was captained by Hekenukumai Busby and navigated by Mau Piailug, a Micronesian navigator who was the last traditional ocean navigator in Oceania. Aware that a storm was brewing, the crew were given two different opinions on where it would hit. The New Zealand Meteorological Service indicated that they should sail in one direction, while Mau suggested another. They opted for the direction suggested by the Meteorological Service, and were caught in the storm. Pakake Winiata recalls how they realised their mistake and turned to Mau’s traditional knowledge to get themselves out of the storm.

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How to cite this page:

Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, 'Waka – canoes - Pacific origins', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 February 2024)

Story by Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, published 12 Jun 2006