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.  



KARU 1935-1964KOKIRI 1951-1968PORT SYDNEY 1955-1972SPIRIT OF PROGRESS MATUA 1936-1968QUEEN MARY 2Suffolk 1939-1968QUEENS WHARF TOWERLincoln 1958-1965ROTORUA 1876-1903SPIRIT OF ENTERPRISE 2000-2003PORT CHALMERS 1933-1965HOLMDALE 1961 - McCawley PracticeTOREATAMAHINE 1925-1962RANGATIRA 1931- 1967WAIRUNA 1919-1945USS Republic (AP-33)KARETU 1924-1951Port NelsonREMUERA 1911-1940MATAURA 1883-1895NIKAU 1909-1954Grand Pacific HotelWANAKA 1876-1891Ruahine 1951-1966USS Talamanca (AF-15)OPUA 1925-1926ARATIKA 1974-1998HOLMBURN 1944-1954NAVUA 1955-1971KARETU  1926 - 1956Barnett Landing craftTOFUA 1951-1973WILLEM RUYSMAITAI  1908-1916ORETI  1888-1897PORT VINDEX 1947-1971WAIANA 1937-1966HINEMOA 1946-1967PORT INVERCARGILL 1958-19751952 BUSY PORTBoat harbourHOLMPARK 1965-1972LOONGANA 1904-1936KOROMIKO 1947-19671965EVANS BAY PATENT SLIPIVYBANK