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.  



WAITEMATA 1919-1932WATERSIDERSTEVE IRWININAHA RATA 1929-1958Cap BadgeOtaki 1953-1966KUROW 1939-1965 Submarine BoomPORT HOBART 1926-1940PENGUIN 1879-1909KAITUNA  1905-1931ARAHURA AT THE END OF LINENGAHERE 1966-1987HOLMPARK 1965-1972KAIAPOI  1906-1930NGAPARA 1966-1986SPIRIT OF CANTERBURYROTOMAHANA 1879-1925Wellington Patent SlipTONGARIRO 1925-1960LEITRIM 1916-1929  NARBADA  1929-1948MONOWAI 1930-1960SPIRIT OF PROGRESS KAITAWA 1949-1966Port ChalmersLOADING STOCKFPSO RAROACoptic 1928-1965Rangitoto 1949-1966Darling Harbour (Sydney)KARAMU 1953-1972Helen Denny 1900-1912MAUNGANUI 1911-1947Hororata 1942-1966Alchiba UnloadingRANGATIRA 1931- 1967ArahuraTekoa 1922-1958AQUITANIAOVALAU 1891-1903HobartQUEEN MARY 2WAINUI 1930-1958WAREATEA 1887-1904HELEN DENNY 1900 - 1912Patea Wharves 1953Charles Edward 1868-1908KAWERAU 1955-1975