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.  



SPIRIT OF CANTERBURYTimetablesNukualofaHIKITIA and RAPAKI RaratongaPORT NEW PLYMOUTH LAUNCHPORT WAIKATO 1947-1959WESTPORTLytteltonTongariro 1883-1899WAIHEMO 1919 - 1934USS WAKEFIELD arrrivesJOHN 1911-1936HMNZS WELLINGTONSuffolk 1939-1968WATERSIDERTaupo 1966-1970PORT AUCKLAND 1949-1976USS American Legion preparing for warARAHINA ASSISTING HIKITIASuilven 1995-2002WANAKA 1897-1927MANAPOURI 1882-1915RANGITIKI 1873-1898JohnAlchiba TorpedoedPATEENA 1891-1924KORANUI 1885-1889KAITUNA  1905-1931Wanganui 1877-1888MAMAKU 1949-1972DISCOVERYWellingtonUNION HOBART 1976 -1984  SEAWAY HOBART 1984 -1988Coptic 1928-1965Beacon HillSanta Regina 2002-SEAWAY QUEEN 1964-1975CORDOBAINAHA TITANIA 1913-1914ARATIKA 1974-1998Wellington Harbour 1943Head OfficeROTOMAHANA 1879-1925MAORI 1953-1974TOFUA 1951-1973