Vertebrate gastrulation involves the coordinated movements of populations of cells. These movements include cellular rearrangements in which cells polarize along their medio-lateral axes leading to cell intercalations that result in elongation of the body axis. Molecular analysis of this process has implicated the non-canonical Wnt/Frizzled signaling pathway that is similar to the planar cell polarity pathway (PCP) in Drosophila. Here we describe a zebrafish mutant, colgate (col), which displays defects in the extension of the body axis and the migration of branchiomotor neurons. Activation of the non-canonical Wnt/PCP pathway in these mutant embryos by overexpressing DeltaNdishevelled, rho kinase2 and van gogh-like protein 2 (vangl2) rescues the extension defects suggesting that col acts as a positive regulator of the non-canonical Wnt/PCP pathway. Further, we show that col normally regulates the caudal migration of nVII facial hindbrain branchiomotor neurons and that the mutant phenotype can be rescued by misexpression of vangl2 independent of the Wnt/PCP pathway. We cloned the col locus and found that it encodes histone deacetylase1 (hdac1). Our previous results and studies by others have implicated hdac1 in repressing the canonical Wnt pathway. Here, we demonstrate novel roles for zebrafish hdac1 in activating non-canonical Wnt/PCP signaling underlying axial extension and in promoting Wnt-independent caudal migration of a subset of hindbrain branchiomotor neurons.