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.  



TARAWERA 1882-1927Charles Edward 1868-1908AORAKIRemuera 1961-1967TAHITI 1911-1930Aotea Quay 1942PORT WAIKATO 1940 - 1959Sailing timeKAITUNA 1956-1975WANAKA 1938-1965C A LARSONSPIRIT OF FREE ENTERPRISE 1983-1985KARETU 1924-1951HOLMDALE 1961 - Tarekena Bay Pilot StationSTENA PROVENCEPORT NEW PLYMOUTH LAUNCHAmerica StarTARAWERA 1958-1974KAMO 1947-1958STRAIT FERONIAROTORUA 1876-1903TOPCATAQUITANIAAotea Quay 1942Suffolk at PanamaWAHINE  1913 - 1951OROWAITI  1921-1924Port NelsonPORT ALFRED 1961-1978WAIHORA 1883-1903HMS VINDEX 1943-1946 INAHAFoxtonATHELVISCOUNT  1965-1978Evans Bay LaundryNukualofaWAIKAWA    1946 - 1959WAIANA 1937-1966UNION NELSON 1981-1991MAUNGANUI 1911 - 1947WAIMARINO 1930 - 1957WAIRUNA 1919-1945WAIPORI 1901-1928MAMAKU 1949-1972KAURI 1936-1962George Elliot SinkingARAHURAWellington Patent Slip