Maritime Heritage Site



The New Zealand Ship & Marine Society was formed in 1949 and was comprised of people from all sections of the community and from many different countries who have an interest in ships and maritime activities. 

The website contains a random selection of short articles, a list of maritime books, short histories of shipping companies, the ships and some personalities which trade or have traded to New Zealand, some New Zealand ports, copies of the journal “New Zealand Marine News” and Dr. Watt's Index. 

As an island country, all transport to and from New Zealand before 1930 was by ship. The first settlers arrived by canoe and the European settlers who followed in the 19th century were transported by sailing ship.

Steam ships were slow to arrive in New Zealand because of the great distances between coaling stations. After the frozen meat trade started in 1882, steamships trading overseas increased rapidly, although by that time there were numerous steam vessels trading around the coast and across to Australia.

Many shipping companies were associated with trade to and from New Zealand. Some lasted many years, some did not remain long, some were only one ship companies, but all contributed to the growth of the nation and gave employment to many New Zealanders.

The search facility scans our whole web site.


The Society website was first established by Mark Johnston in February 2000. When he left New Zealand in June 2005, Captain John Brown kindly agreed to become webmaster and to further develop the website, which he did admirably. The original website was extensively revised and redesigned. In December 2014 the website moved over to Recollect and further developed. John Brown put much time and effort into adding photographs and articles into the website, and except for some transient one-call ships, the majority of his work has been retained for history. The Society was formally wound-up on 30 June 2019, but this website is retained as a maritime heritage site for historical maritime information, especially of New Zealand shipping.  



REBUILDING THE CONTAINER BERTHTANEA at WanganuiJAMES O'BRIENSTEVE IRWINPORT BRISBANE 1949-1975DAMAGE TO CONTAINER TERMINAL AFTER EARTHQUAKEHurunui 1948-1966MARAMA 1907-1937Rangitiki 1929-1962RAILWAY WHARFHAURAKI 1922-1942SPIRIT OF PROGRESS HOLMBANK 1962 - 63Rangitata 1929-1962Tekoa 1922-1958QUEEN MARY 2 and CELEBRITY SOLSTICEWellingtonENDEAVOURARATEREHMNZS WELLINGTONTALUNE 1930-1959WAIHEMO 1946-1966Foundry Staff 1905MOURA 1899-1915UNION HOBART 1976-1993TARARUA 1878-1881Arahanga LaunchKAREPO 1929-1954FLOATING DOCKShipping WellingtonOVALAU 1891-1903DunedinAORAKIOtaio 1930-1941Wellington 4 FerriesKAIMIRO 1956-1975TOFUA 1951-1973Marines ArriveUSS BAINBRIDGEWAINUI 1887-1929Port NelsonKUMALLA 1956-1973MARAMA 1969-1985  TAPUHI 1947-1973KAITOKE 1948-1972Ruapehu 1901-1931WAIPAHI 1925-1955MAMAKU 1949-1972