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.  



QUEEN ELIZABETH 2HINAKURA 1949-1966TAVIUNI 1890-1924Cap BadgeHAUPIRI 1896-1915UNION HOBART 1976-1993PapeeteMAKURA 1908-1936MANUIALincoln 1958-1965APARIMA 1902-1917Head OfficeHurunui 1948-1966JohnKANNA 1946-1967Gothic 1948-1969TAPUHI 1947-1973BEAUTIFUL STAR 1875-1899MAPOURIKA 1898-1921ORETI  1888-1897PATEENA 1891-1924USS Talamanca (AF-15)America StarLautokaWORSER BAY PILOT STATIONArahuraUNION AUCKLAND 1984-1997Lyttelton 1862-1881TE AROHA 1935-1936Stenhouse BayTaupo 1966-1970WAINUI 1930-1958USS American Legion preparing for warRangitiki 1929-1962ARAHURA 1905-1925GreymouthRaratongaEVANS BAY PATENT SLIPSubmarine BoomAOTEAROA CHIEFMANUKA 1903-1929Rangitoto 1949-1966UNION SOUTH PACIFIC  1973 - 1978KAITAWA 1949-1966JOHN 1911-1936USS American Legion (AP-35)Port Chalmers Marine WorkshopsAORANGI 1910-1914