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.  



KAIMAI 1956-1972PORT AUGUSTA 1906-1925Koi 1906-1930NGAKUTA 1962-1983Gothic 1948-1969NGAPARA 1966-1986TALUNE 1891-1925KOPUA 1947-1959MOURA 1899-1915WAIHEMO 1919 - 1934KARETU 1924-1951KAIMAI 1924-1952ARAMOANA    1962 - 1984Arahanga LaunchSPIRIT OF FREE ENTERPRISE 1983-1985WAIPAHI 1925-1955USS LONG BEACHMenu 1958RISDON 1959-1975WAREATEA 1887-1904HINAKURA 1949-1966AOTEAROA CHIEFOPIHI 1923-1936PORT VINDEX 1947-1971KAITUNA 1956-1975KANNA 1946-1967KINI 1930-1956WAIMEA 1953-1975Mataura 1968-1971WANAKA 1876-1891Boat HarbourTERAWHITI 1907-1947WellingtonTALUNE 1930-1959Athenic 1901-1928KORANUI 1885-1889Picton 3 FerriesKOMATA 1947-1967WAIRATA 1947-1967PORT NEW PLYMOUTH LAUNCHUNION TRANS TASMAN 1973 -1977Aotea Quay 1943Wellington Harbour 1943TYRONE  1912-1913SPIRIT OF CANTERBURYSPIRIT OF PROGRESS PATEENA 1958-1975OROWAITI  1921-1924Helen Denny 1900-1912