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.  



WAIANA 1937-1966SPIRIT OF COMPETITIONNewcastleHouse FlagEvans Bay LaundryBUFFALODAPHNE ex PORT SYDNEYDominion Monarch 1938-1962ARAHURA AT THE END OF LINEOtaki 1953-1966Coptic 1928-1965PORT NEW PLYMOUTH 1960-1979Taioma and HinupahiUNION AOTEAROA 1977-1978Gothic 1948-1969PORT CHALMERS 1969PORT SAINT JOHN 1939-1961 TAHITI SINKINGSPIRIT OF RESOLUTION  1999 - 2012MAHENO 1969-1976TALUNE 1930-1959IAN FELTHAM INTERVIEWSTEVE IRWINAotea Quay 1942PORT SYDNEY 1955-1972AOTEAROA 1913KURUTAI 1952-1972NGAIO 1950-1955PORT AUGUSTA 1906-1925Wairarapa, 1884TOWAI 1954-1969WAINUI 1965-1970NIAGARA 1913-1940Santa Regina 2002-WanganuiUNION ROTOITI 1977-1999ARANUI  1966 -1984C A LARSONPort Chalmers Marine WorkshopsTAIKO 1984-1999FLOATING DOCKTAPUHI 1947-1973Hurunui 1948-1966WAIPORI 1938-1965NAVUA 1904-1926BEAUTIFUL STAR 1875-1899Ruahine 1951-1966GABRIELLA 1930PATEENA 1891-1924