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.  



WAIPORI 1938-1965WANAKA 1897-1927PORT LAUNCESTON 1957-1977LST's at Kings Wharf 3 PORT CHALMERS 1933-1965REBUILDING THE CONTAINER BERTHMAORI 1907-1946 HOLMGLEN 1931-1951KENT loading campervans at Lyttelton October 2007HOLMBANK 1962 - 63PENGUIN 1879-1909KARAMU 1953-1972HOLMBURN 1944-1954HIKITIA and RAPAKI HOLMPARK 1965-1972Princess Danae x Port MelbourneWHANGAPE 1900-1928DISCOVERYWAIPORI 1901-1928TAIOMA 1947-1975Halcione 1880-1896RANGATIRA 1931- 1967TALUNE 1891-1925KAMONA 1901-1931Port Chalmers Marine WorkshopsMenu 1958Helen Denny 1900-1912UNION ENDEAVOUR 1989-1991TAKAPUNA 1883-1924Suilven 1995-2002KAITOKE 1948-1972Foundry Staff 1905KAIAPOI 1949-1968Ruahine 1951-1966MAORI 1875-1902APARIMA 1902-1917MAHENO 1905-1935Barnett Landing craftRakaia 1946-1966PORT HOBART 1926-1940LOADING STOCKCANADIAN HIGHLANDER Wellington Head Office 1917-1990BERTHAGE PLAN 1929SPIRIT OF RESOLUTION  1999 - 2012HobartLily 1905-1906KARU 1935-1964TOWAI 1954-1969Sailing time