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.  



UNION WELLINGTON  1974-1976ARAHINA ASSISTING HIKITIABARRETT REEF BUOYJohnWAKATEREHOLMDALE 1981-1991Princess Danae x Port MelbourneRuahine 1951-1966USS American Legion preparing for warRANGATIRA 1931- 1967TAUPATA 1939-1949OROWAITI  1921-1924AOTEAROA CHIEFTongariro 1883-1899Whakatane 1900-1924PORT LAUNCESTON 1957-1977BluffFoundry Staff 1905Suilven 1995-2002ROTOMAHANA 1879-1925Wanganui 1877-1888INAHA AORANGI 1910-1914Patea River EntrancePicton 3 FerriesKARAMU 1953-1972MOKOIA 1898-1928Ruapehu 1901-1931PORT WAIKATO 1947-1959PORT HOBART 1926-1940Port KemblaHOLMDALE 1961 - TAVIUNI 1890-1924Aotea Quay 1943PORT INVERCARGILL 1958-1975FoxtonWAIRUNA 1919-1945Cargo Plan WAIRATA 1956HAWEA 1967-1976Hunter Liggett PracticeKOONYA 1957-1971FLOATING DOCKWAIHEMO 1919 - 1934TE ANAU 1879-1924KAWAROA 1950-1972LIMERICK 1925-1943EVANS BAY PATENT SLIPPORT NEW PLYMOUTH 1960-1979Papeete