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.  



Ruapehu 1901-1931UNION SYDNEY 1974-1977STENA PROVENCEKUROW 1939-1965 KARAMEA & OCEAN BULK 1998-2003EDWIN FOX 1873-1886KAITANGATA 1948-1968SPIRIT OF FREEDOMMAUNGANUI 1911-1947WAITEMATA 1946-1967Charles Edward 1868-1908KAITOA 1909-19501952 BUSY PORTNGAHERE 1966-1987WAIPA 1875-1895KIWITEA 1925-1955TIROAGreymouthHAURAKI 1922-1942LEITRIM 1916-1929USS BAINBRIDGEWAITEMATA 1919-1932FOXTONTongariro 1967-1970TE AROHA 1935-1936RANGITIKI 1873-1898ARATEREHAWEA 1875-1888WAIRIMU 1948-1966NUSA PUTERAKahika  1915-1933QUEEN MARY 2 and CELEBRITY SOLSTICENiagara 1913-1940Ruahine 1951-1966Heywood Landing at AttuPORT SAINT JOHN 1939-1961 LIMERICK 1925-1943MANUIAWellington Patent SlipMAMAKU 1949-1972John grounding AOTEAROA CHIEFPATEENA 1958-1975SydneyKALINGO 1930-1943PORT ST JOHN  1939 - 1961DISCOVERYMAORI 1953-1974UNION SOUTH PACIFIC  1973 - 1978