Star Compasses

Hawaiian Star Compass © Charles Nainoa Thompson.

Nainoa’s Hawaiian Star Compass ©. Click here for a pdf file.

Nainoa’s Hawaian Star Compass © with English and Numerical Equivalents in degrees. (The distance between compass points is 11.25 degrees; the points marks the center of houses of the same name. The distance to the sides of the house from the center, on either side, is 5.625 degrees). Click here for a pdf file.

Nainoa’s Hawaiian Star Compass © with the Brightest Stars. Click here for a pdf file.

Early Star Compasses, from the Nainoa's Notebooks for the 1980 Voyage to Tahiti. Kamehameha Schools Online Archives

Mau’s Compass. East, where stars rise, is at the top of the circle; West, where stars set, is at the bottom. North is to the left, South to the right. Click here for a pdf file.

Notes on Mau’s Compass

The directions are not evenly spaced or numerical. Directions are named for the actual stars or constellations that rise and set in a particular direction. The directions have the same name for the directions on rising and setting sides of the compass, except for the Southern Cross at 45˚.


Tan = Rising; Tupul = Setting

Stars and Constellations

  • Wuliwulifasmughet: North Star
  • Mailapailefung: Little Dipper
  • Wylur: Big Dipper
  • Igulig: Whale; Cassiopeia = Head; Almach and Mirach = Body; Hamal and Sharatan - Tail
  • Murn: Vega
  • Marigaht: Makali‘i
  • Uul: Aldebaran
  • Paiifung: Gamma Aqulae
  • Mailap: Altair
  • Paiyur: Beta Aquilae
  • Earlier: Belt of Orion
  • Sarapool: Corvus
  • Tumur: Top six stars of Scopio
  • Mesario: Shaula and Antares

Southern Cross

  • Luubw: Cross rising
  • Machemeias: Cross rising at 45˚ from the southeastern horizon
  • Wuliwuliluubw: Cross upright at 90˚
  • Machemelito: Cross setting at 45˚ from the southwestern horizon
  • Luubw: Cross setting