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.  



HMS VINDEX 1943-1946 KORAKI 1957-1975SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENCEWanganuiHURUNUI 1875-1895PORT SYDNEY 1955-1972STRAIT FERONIA and ARATEREKALINGO 1930-1943SPIRIT OF RESOLUTION  1999 - 2012Beacon HillBrittanic 1967-MOURA 1899-1915Aotea Quay 1942WILLEM RUYSKAKAPO 1937-1960Marines ArriveHOLMLEA 1950-1967Foundry Staff 1905KAIKORAI 1920-1948Armagh 1917TYRONE  1912-1913SPIRIT OF ENTERPRISE 2000-2003Mataroa 1932-1957WAINUI 1887-1929LIMERICK 1925-1943Mataura 1968-1971AORANGI 1883-1899UNLOADING STOCK ENDEAVOURKINI 1930-1956KAIRANGA 1924WAIPORI 1901-1928NewcastlePortland (Whangarei)ARATERENGATORO 1942-1949KAITAKIGolden Princess & Interislander Ferries Nov 2015Taupo 1966-1970QE 2 AWATEA 1936-1942Aotea Quay 1943TAVEUNI 1968-1972PORT CHALMERS 1933-1965WAITEMATA 1919-1932IAN FELTHAM INTERVIEWWellington Head Office 1917-1990HAWEA 1967-1976Sailing time