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.  



KOROWAI 1938-1965KAITANGATA 1948-1968Mataroa 1932-1957KANNA 1946-1967HOLMBURN 1957-1975KIWITEA 1925-1955LEITRIM 1916-1929LOONGANA 1904-1936OPIHI 1923-1936Rangitoto 1949-1966USS WAKEFIELD arrrivesMANUIAWANAKA 1897-1927AORANGI 1883-1899WILLEM RUYSArmagh 1917Helen Deny 1866-1896Menu 1958WATERSIDERUNION ROTOITI 1977-1999KOOTARA 1952-1975ACHILLE LAUROUNION AUCKLAND 1984-1997FOUR INTERISLANDERSRangitiki 1929-1962UNION TRANS TASMAN 1973 -1977LautokaCARGO HANDLINGTongariro 1901-1916Foundry Staff 1905DARTFORD 1908-1946HOLMBURN 1957 -Barnett Landing craftBluffKAIMANAWA 1944-1966EVANS BAY PATENT SLIPRINGAROOMA 1878-1901SPIRIT OF FREEDOMRANGATIRA 1931- 1967HOLMBURN 1944-1954KUROW  1909-1933KINI 1930-1956MATANGI 1929-1952OMANA 1930-1951MAORI 1875-1902Remuera 1961-1967HOLMDALE 1981-1991WAIHEMO 1919 - 1934WAIMATE 1951-1972KOWHAI 1952-1973