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.  



WAINUI 1965-1970Ruahine 1909-1949SPIRIT OF VISION 1995-2003Alchiba TorpedoedTYRONE  1912-1913ROTOMAHANA 1879-1925UNION SOUTH PACIFIC  1973 - 1978AWATEA 1936-1942Brittanic 1967-MAMAKU 1949-1972JAMES O'BRIENMANUKA 1903-1929KAWERAU 1955-1975USS BAINBRIDGEAOTEAROA 1913HOLMBANK 1962 - 63FPSO RAROATOPCATKOROMIKO 1907-1928HOLMDALE 1981-1991KOPUA 1947-1959Kent 2001-2008KAWATIRI 1950-1971KAITOA 1956-1971CONTAINER TERMINAL DAMAGE HURUNUI 1875-1895HOLMBURN 1957-1975FOXTONWALLACEEARTHQUAKE DAMAGE AT WELLINGTON CONTAINER TERMINALARAHURA at seaSuffolk 1939-1968ENDEAVOURAotea Quay 1942Cargo Plan WAIRATA 1956TITOKI 1958-1982OONAH 1891-1922NGATORO 1942-1949KANNA 1946-1967SPIRIT OF COMPETITIONKAIRANGA 1924RANGATIRA 1931- 1967NGAIO 1921-1935TAIKO 1984-1999TOFUA 1908-1934TimetablesUNION TRANS TASMAN 1973 -1977Charles Edward 1868-1908WAIMATE 1874-1888