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.  



LOONGANA 1904-1936NAVUA 1904-1926Aotea Quay 1942WAIHORA 1883-1903Opawa 1876-1899RAINBOW WARRIOR  Feb 2013TAHITI SINKINGTAUPATA 1939-1949Patea River EntranceKAIARAHISPIRIT OF COMPETITIONAOTEAROA CHIEFUNION SOUTH PACIFIC  1973 - 1978TimetablesMAORI 1875-1902MARAMA 1907-1937SEAWAY KING 1964-1976Boat HarbourANATOKIUNION ROTORUA 1976-1998MATUA 1936-1968MAHENO 1905-1935UNION MELBOURNE 1975 - 1980Tongariro 1901-1916MONOWAI  1890-1926TOFUA 1951-1973LautokaUNION NEW ZEALAND 1972 - 1978WESTPORTKOONYA 1957-1971TAIKO 1984-1999KIWITEA 1925-1955WAREATEA 1887-1904FPSO RAROAMARAROA 1885-1931PORT ADELAIDE 1951-1972WAIRARAPA 1882-1894WAIANA 1937-1966KATUI  1947-1967KAROON 1951-1968Lily 1905-1906TAMAHINE 1925-1962OROWAITI 1887-1903MAKURA 1908-1936HMNZS WELLINGTONLytteltonMANUIAGothic 1948-1969