William Mariner

  • Sketch of William Mariner
  • Statue of William Mariner
  • Warrior reenactment from the William Mariner film
  • Young William reenactment from the William Mariner film

About This Project

William Mariner is a feature length docudrama that tells the story of the 15-year-old English cabin boy who was aboard the British privateer Port Au Prince when it was sacked, burned and sunk after a bloody conflict with Tongan warriors off the Ha’apai Islands in 1806. Saved from massacre, Will was adopted by King Finau Ulakalala, becoming prince of the islands for 6 years before finally making his return to London. There he lived a “normal” life, marrying and having eleven children, and becoming a successful stockbroker, writing his memoirs of his time in Tonga – then as a middle-aged man, jumping into a London river and killing himself. William Mariner’s memoir is one of the most important early contact stories in the Pacific, an instance of imperial adventuring colliding with Pacific histories.


Producers & Directors

Rebekah Kelly & Annie Goldson

In Development

New Zealand Film Commission
University of Auckland

In Progress