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William Mariner “Ironaxe” to be filmed in Tonga

Rebekah Kelley, under a grant from the University of Auckland, is in Tonga on a 10 day scoping mission to explore the possibility of a film on the story of Englishman William Mariner who was saved after the Port au Prince was seized in Tonga in 1806.

Wiliam Mariner in traditional costume. Source: Wikipedia

“The story had always fascinated me and there are some amazing artefacts just lying around,” said retired PR expert, Allan Bowe, now owner of Mounu Island resort in Tonga.

While in Tonga, Kelley will speak with local historians about Mariner who was renamed “Ironaxe” by his captor, Chief ‘Ulukalala. Mariner lived in Tonga during a historic period when his captor attempted to unify the Tonga islands using guns seized from the Port au Prince.

“If we get enough to shoot this, it would have to be shot on location and would be amazing,” says Kelley.

The title of ‘Ulukalala is currently held by the Crown Prince’s eldest son, 2nd in line to the throne.

William Mariner’s story has been told numerous times in books but never reenacted as a feature film.


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