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 1935-1964HURUNUI 1875-1895KAITOA 1956-1971RaratongaSydney Office NAVUA 1955-1971ARAHURA 1905-1925KAITAWA 1949-1966TAMAHINE 1925-1962FPSO RAROAPORT NEW PLYMOUTH 1960-1979Aotea Quay 1943SPIRIT OF ENDURANCETaupo 1966-1970LEITRIM 1916-1929PapeeteWAITEMATA 1919-1932KORANUI 1920-1953IAN FELTHAM INTERVIEWDAPHNE ex PORT SYDNEYNiagara 1913-1940BRUCE 1875-1875SPIRIT OF FREEDOMHobartAQUITANIADarling Harbour (Sydney)UNION WELLINGTON  1974-1976Port New Plymouth LaunchKAIWARRA 1919-1942KARITANE 1939-1965Port ChalmersJOHN 1911-1936ALBION 1878-1883WAIKARE 1897-1910PORT NICHOLSON 1962-1979TARARUA 1878-1881WAREATEA 1887-1904ARAHANGA 1972 - 2001Athenic 1901-1928Patea River EntranceAOTEAROA 1913KUROW 1939-1965 UNION LYTTELTON  1977- 1983  SEAWAY MELBOURNE 1983 - 1992HELEN DENNY 1900 - 1912Beacon HillPORT NAPIER 1912-1938FOXTONAPARIMA 1902-1917Armagh 1917