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.  



AratereGABRIELLA 1930KARAMU 1912PictonTYRONE  1912-1913PORT AUGUSTA 1906-1925Arahanga LaunchTimetablesAthenic 1901-1928BERTHAGE PLAN 1929WAIMARINO 1915-1926PORT WAIKATO 1947-1959AWATEA 1936-1942CANADIAN HIGHLANDER Boat HarbourMAMAKU 1949-1972WAINUI 1930-1958Cargo Plan Wairata 1957NIAGARA 1913-1940Suffolk at PanamaKAIARAHITALISMANArahanga LaunchUSS BAINBRIDGEWORSER BAY PILOT STATIONINAHABARRETT REEF BUOYGrand Pacific HotelTAVIUNI 1890-1924NATONE 1900-1947DAMAGE TO CONTAINER TERMINAL AFTER EARTHQUAKEOpawa 1876-1899Wellington Patent SlipThevenardWellington Harbour 1943OPUA 1925-1926WAIRARAPA 1882-1894Niagara 1913-1940FLOATING DOCKUNION NEW ZEALAND 1972 - 1978PORT NAPIER 1912-1938LST's at Kings Wharf 3 PURIRI 1938-1940 WAITAKI 1964-1970KAWERAU 1955-1975USS American Legion (AP-35)Wellington 5 FerriesOpua SurvivorsOONAH 1891-1922KARU 1935-1964