This imaginative reconstruction of the capture of the ship Boyd in Whangaroa Harbour was painted some 30 years after the event by the French artist Louis Auguste Sainson. Work like this and the more famous 1908 oil painting by Walter Wright (Auckland Art Gallery) helped promote the notion of New Zealand as the ‘Cannibal Isles’ and highlight the interpretation of this event as the Boyd Massacre. The work of Wright has subsequently been dismissed as ‘documentary racism’.
In Sainson’s work two canoes can be seen in the harbour while close to the shore a European woman stands in a vessel resembling a rowboat. Several dead sailors lie in the foreground and people are swarming up the rigging of the ship.