William Mariner and Adoption

An engraving showing William Mariner in Tongan costume.



Mariner was one of the crew of the Port au Prince, most of whom were massacred by the people of the Ha'apai islands, part of Tonga, under their chief Finau 'Ulukalala II, in 1806. Mariner survived and caught the eye of the chief, was adopted by him to replace a dead son, and given the name Toki 'Ukamea (Iron Axe). He remained in Tonga for four years before being rescued, being tutored by one of his adoptive father's wives.


Mariner, William. An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. (Edinburgh: Constable & Co., 1827) Sacks, Oliver. The Island of the Colour-Blind; and Cycad Island. (London: Macmillan, 1996), pp. 249-50 Martin, John. "Tonga Islands: William Mariner's Account." [Includes portrait]. Available at: