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.  



NewcastleTAUPO 1875-1879Tekoa 1922-1958PORT BRISBANE 1949-1975EMPRESS OF BRITIANOCEAN BULK 1 1998-2003SydneyUNION ROTOMA 1991-1999KOKIRI 1951-1968Head OfficeSPIRIT OF COMPETITIONUSS BAINBRIDGEKINI 1898-1924Whakatane 1900-1924PORT SAINT JOHN 1939-1961 WAITEMATA 1946-1967HOLMWOOD 1952-1972RAKAIA 1873-1892KAKAPO 1937-1960UPOLU 1891 - 1903JOHN 1911-1936Ruahine 1951-1966AORANGI 1883-1899Marines ArriveHurunui 1948-1966PORT AUCKLAND 1949-1976Beacon HillAlexander 1903-1950SPIRIT OF VISION 1995-2003MAUNGANUI 1911 - 1947QUEENS WHARF TOWERWellington 5 FerriesTAPUHI 1947-1973WINGATUI  1920-1951Boat harbourINAHA EARTHQUAKE DAMAGE AT WELLINGTON CONTAINER TERMINALEvans Bay LaundryWAHINE 1966 -1968Port ChalmersPAMIR 1942-1948Ruapehu 1901-1931WILLEM RUYSSEAWAY KING 1964-1976UNION ENDEAVOUR 1989-1991NGAIO 1921-1935NATONE 1900-1947AratereARAHURA at sea