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.  



KAURI 1936-1962Kent 2001-2008Helen Deny 1866-1896Beacon Hill Signal SationHOLMGLEN 1931-1951HOLMDALE 1981-1991AOTEAROA 1913KAWERAU 1955-1975KOOTARA 1952-1975HINAKURA 1949-1966Arahanga LaunchTOFUA 1908-1934HOLMWOOD 1952-1972Beacon HillPORT SYDNEY 1955-1972HAWEA 1875-1888PORT NICHOLSON 1962-1979Helen Denny 1900-1912Wairarapa, 1884Straitsman 1992-2002OVATION OF THE SEASOtaio 1958-1970Sydney Office WAREATEA 1887-1904Loading CheeseKAWAROA 1950-1972Opawa 1876-18991934Arahanga LaunchPORT SAINT JOHN 1939-1961 MAWHERA 1885-1902KAIMANAWA 1944-1966WAIRARAPA 1882-1894DAMAGE TO CONTAINER TERMINAL AFTER EARTHQUAKENAVUA 1904-1926USS Mount Vernon (AP-22)ANATOKIKahika  1915-1933HOLMPARK 1965-1972MAHENO 1969-1976RINGAROOMA 1878-1901TAIKO 1984-1999TOPCATOpua SurvivorsPORT ADELAIDE 1951-1972VancouverPATEENA 1891-1924Mataura 1968-1971RAKAIA 1873-1892Suffolk at Panama