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.  



WAIRARAPA 1882-1894Coptic 1928-1965TAMAHINE 1925-1962KIWITEA 1925-1955CANADIAN HIGHLANDER KINI 1930-1956Helen Deny 1866-1896Sydney OfficeARANUI  1966 -1984HOLMDALE 1981-1991STENA PROVENCETITOKI 1958-1982KARETU 1964-1980Wairarapa, 1884MOKOIA 1898-1928PIAKO 1920-1941RANGATIRA 1931- 1967NUSA PUTERADAMAGE TO CONTAINER TERMINAL AFTER EARTHQUAKEMAORI 1875-19021952 BUSY PORTKOROWAI 1938-1965HMS VINDEX 1943-1946 KEKERANGU 1920-1953Tongariro 1967-1970PORT ST JOHN  1939 - 1961UNION SYDNEY 1983-1986KATEA 1958-1975Turakina 1960-1970Golden Princess & Interislander Ferries Nov 2015MAITAI  1908-1916MARAROA 1885-1931PORT CHALMERS 1969Otaio 1958-1970ENDEAVOURKORANUI 1920-1953PictonBoat HarbourEL CIERVOAmerica StarMataura 1968-1971KARETU 1924-1951INAHAFPSO RAROATERAWHITI 1907-1947FLOATING DOCKARAHURA 1905-1925TARARUA 1878-1881Shipping Wellington