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.  



WAIMARINO 1930 - 1957WINGATUI  1920-1951HMS RAMILLIESBUSY QUEENS WHARFAucklandTaioma and HinupahiORETI  1888-1897UNION ROTOMA 1991-1999QE 2 Wellington OfficeGrand Pacific HotelTOREAKAIMIRO 1929 -1956Port Chalmers Marine WorkshopsSydney OfficePORT AUGUSTA 1906-1925Boat harbourHOLMDALE 1921-1956HOLMBURN 1957 -ARANUI  1966 -1984HOLMBURN 1957-1975UNION SYDNEY 1983-1986DunedinAotea Quay 1942PORT LAUNCESTON 1957-1977NewcastleKORANUI 1920-1953PATEENA 1958-1975Aotea Quay 1943KAIARAHIQUEEN MARY 2Brittanic 1967-KAIPARA 1903-1914BERTHAGE PLAN 1929Rangitoto 1949-1966MAUNGANUI 1911 - 1947RISDON 1959-1975Evans Bay LaundryUSS Talamanca (AF-15)KAREPO 1964-1978SPIRIT OF PROGRESS TALUNE 1930-1959PORT NAPIER 1912-1938HOLMBANK 1962 - 63John grounding UNION ROTORUA 1976-1998Wellington Head OfficeKIWITEA 1925-1955