Titus Angus White & the Māori Captives on Waitematā Harbour 1863/4 by Barbara Francis


Softcover | 206mm x 145mm
246pp | 25 b&w illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-99-115914-4

In November 1863 at the battle of Rangiriri, over 180 Māori defenders were taken prisoner. They were marched up the Great South Road to Ōtāhuhu, from where they were transferred onto the Waitematā Harbour. There they were held captive on the prison ship Marion for nearly eight months, supervised by their bilingual Pākehā Superintendent Titus Angus White, who was also sent to retrieve them after their subsequent escape from Kawau Island.

This book is the story of Titus Angus White and the men he ended up supervising as they were imprisoned only 600 metres off the Port of Auckland. It is also the wider story of the invasion of the Waikato and the circumstances that led to the establishment of New Zealand’s largest ever floating prison.

“This work navigates the colonial propaganda and attempts to provide an objective perspective on a tumultuous time in New Zealand history – Barbara Francis has been meticulous in collecting, collating and connecting information to produce a detailed narrative around the work and thinking of Titus Angus White.” – Dr Mike Ross, Ngāti Hauā.


Author: After teaching in Wellington and Christchurch Barbara Francis retired to Wellington. In 2009 she received the New Horizons for Women Trust: Hine Kahukura, Peg Hutchison Research Award, NZFGW, which gave her a new focus. That resulted in the publication of Our Secretary in China from 1930-1945, The Story of Agnes Moncrieff, YWCA of New Zealand International Secretary, YWCA of Greater Wellington (2010), and then in 2017: You Do Not Travel in China at the Full Moon; Agnes Moncrieff’s Letters from China, 1930-1945, Victoria University Press.

While researching at Rangiriri in 2020 for the next project, a chance meeting with Brad Totorewa, then Te Toki a te Kiingi – Speaker for the King – had him advising Barbara to, ‘write the story for pākehā’, which this book is.