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.  



Napier OfficeKENT loading campervans at Lyttelton October 2007Brittanic 1967-WAIHORA 1907-1927PORT LAUNCESTON 1957-1977TAVEUNI 1968-1972KARTIGI 1925-1955John grounding ORETI  1888-1897Portland (Whangarei)HOLMWOOD 1924-1939OMANA 1930-1951MATAURA 1883-1895Mataroa 1932-1957WAIRUNA 1946-1960REBUILDING THE CONTAINER BERTHPORT NEW PLYMOUTH LAUNCHRuahine 1951-1966PATEENA 1958-1975TONGARIRO 1925-1960KAWERAU 1955-1975WAINUI 1887-1929TALUNE 1930-1959ALBION 1878-1883House FlagTAIOMA 1947-1975Tongariro 1901-1916NGAIO 1921-1935KAWAROA 1950-1972USS Talamanca (AF-15)KAIPARA 1903-1914TAHITI SINKINGLytteltonKARITANE 1939-1965WAIKAWA    1946 - 1959TALUNE 1891-1925ARATIKA 1974-1998PORT WAIKATO 1940 - 1959Opawa 1876-1899PORT CHALMERS 1969STEVE IRWINUNION ROTORUA 1976-1998RAKAIA 1873-1892KAMONA 1949-1965Tongariro 1883-1899Charles Edward 1868-1908KINI 1930-1956RAILWAY WHARF