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.  



Boat HarbourTAROONA 1935 -1959UPOLU 1891 - 1903CORDOBAKONINI 1957-1971SEAWAY PRINCESS 1976-1985JAMES O'BRIENWAIANA 1937-1966AORANGI 1910-1914Dunedin 1874-1890Cowichin BayRangitata 1929-1962INAHA at PateaSydney Office PORT HOBART 1926-1940KAMONA 1949-1965House FlagDISCOVERYWESTPORTKahika  1915-1933Athenic 1901-1928CARGO HANDLINGTongariro 1967-1970KALINGO 1930-1943KARAMU 1953-1972WANAKA 1876-1891TIROAKINI 1930-1956KARITANE 1939-1965Wellington Harbour 1943PORT NEW PLYMOUTH LAUNCHRuahine 1951-1966Wellington Head OfficeWAKATEREWAIHORA 1907-1927Suffolk at PanamaTAHITI SINKINGKAWATIRI 1887-1907MANUKA 1903-1929MOERAKI 1902-1933Darling Harbour (Sydney)NGAIO 1950-1955PURIRI 1938-1940 NIKAU 1909-1954ARMAGH 1917-1923Cap BadgeMAHENO 1969-1976EARTHQUAKE DAMAGE AT WELLINGTON CONTAINER TERMINALKent 2001-2008