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.  



UNION ROTOMA 1991-1999PORT AUCKLAND 1949-1976QUEEN ELIZABETH 2WESTPORTHead OfficeNGAKUTA 1942-1952Santa Regina 2002-TimetablesTAVEUNI 1968-1972UNION HOBART 1976 -1984  SEAWAY HOBART 1984 -1988KINI 1930-1956KAKAPO 1937-1960KARAMEA 1998-2003KAMO 1947-1958Suffolk 1939-1968WAINUI 1965-1970KORAKI 1957-1975Arahanga LaunchOROWAITI  1921-1924KAIARAHIHAUPIRI 1896-1915MAWHERA 1885-1902WANAKA 1897-1927WAIRARAPA 1882-1894Wellington Head OfficeMAITAI  1908-1916WAIANA 1937-1966WHANGAPE 1900-1928Rangitoto 1949-1966HOLMBURN 1957-1975RANGATIRA 1972-1976Ruahine 1951-1966PORT CHALMERS 1969-1982Hurunui 1948-1966WAIKAWA    1946 - 1959McCawley PracticeARAHANGA 1972 - 2001Gothic 1948-1969SPIRIT OF RESOLUTION  1999 - 2012Alchiba TorpedoedQUEENS WHARF TOWERMATUA 1936-1968OPUA 1925-1926SEAWAY KING 1964-1976MANUIAPORT ST JOHN  1939 - 1961PORT LAUNCESTON 1957-1977KORANUI 1920-1953TAUPO 1875-1879