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.  



HOLMLEA 1950-1967UNION SOUTH PACIFIC  1973 - 1978JOHN 1911-1936APARIMA 1902-1917Turakina 1960-1970HAWEA 1967-1976RaratongaCoptic 1928-1965SydneyAOTEAROA CHIEFWAIPA 1875-1895Aorere 1889-1896Pakeha 1910-1946WAITARA 1873-1883Beacon HillMANAPOURI 1882-1915KAIPARA 1903-1914MAHENO 1905-1935John grounding KAIRANGA 1924-1956SPIRIT OF RESOLUTION  1999 - 2012PictonKANIERI 1886-1893BluffGothic 1948-1969BEAUTIFUL STAR 1875-1899MARAMA 1907-1937WAIKARE 1897-1910TITOKI 1958-1982SEAWAY QUEEN 1964-1975ROTORUA 1876-1903PORT NEW PLYMOUTH LAUNCHALBION 1878-1883HOLMWOOD 1924-1939PORT JACKSON 1937-1967PORT SAINT JOHN 1939-1961 MATANGI 1929-1952CONTAINER TERMINAL DAMAGE HINAKURA 1949-1966KAROON 1951-1968Tekoa 1922-1958SPIRIT OF FREEDOMWellington Head Office 1917-1990KAITOA 1909-1950ARATEREKAIAPOI  1906-1930HOLMDALE 1961 - Rotorua 1910-1917