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.  



CANADIAN HIGHLANDER Athenic 1901-1928KAWERAU 1955-1975HURUNUI 1875-1895NIAGARA 1913-1940KAIMIRO 1929 -1956DAPHNE ex PORT SYDNEYBoat harbourWAHINE  1913 - 1951UNION NEW ZEALAND 1972 - 1978RATA 1929-1958WAIMARINO 1930 - 1957OVALAU 1891-1903HAURAKI 1922-1942Cargo Plan Wairata 1957ROTORUA 1876-1903HOLMGLEN 1931-1951UNION AUCKLAND 1984-1997JOHN 1911-1936KAWATIRI 1950-1971Straitsman 2010-TAVIUNI 1890-1924Straitsman 1992-2002TALISMANMATANGI 1929-1952NewcastlePORT ALFRED 1961-1978KAIRANGA 1924-1956USS WAKEFIELD arrrivesKORANUI 1956-1975MANUKA 1903-1929KAIAPOI  1906-1930KAMO 1947-1958ARAHANGA 1972 - 2001ArahuraKAIAPOI 1949-1968TAHITI 1911-1930INAHATongariro 1883-1899KAWATIRI 1887-1907LytteltonKOROWAI 1938-1965WANAKA 1897-1927MOERAKI 1902-1933Otaki 1953-1966Hunter Liggett PracticeHAMILTON  1967- 1975FOXTONUNION WELLINGTON  1974-1976LST's at Kings Wharf 3