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.  



WAIPA 1875-1895SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENCEBrittanic 1967-Tongariro 1901-1916KAIMIRO 1956-1975Otaki 1953-1966STEVE IRWINCowichin BayHunter Liggett PracticeKARU 1935-1964ROTORUA 1876-1903Sydney OfficeTONGARIRO 1925-1960HINAKURA 1949-1966MAMAKU 1949-1972TAUPO 1875-1879NewcastleMonte Stello 2006-2010KAMONA 1901-1931Dominion Monarch 1938-1962CORDOBATAROONA 1935 -1959WAKATEREBarnett Landing craftNGAIO 1921-1935TAVIUNI 1890-1924JOHN 1911-1936PURIRI 1938-1940 KAMONA 1949-1965KOROWAI 1938-1965Patea Wharves 1953BERTHAGE PLAN 1929KAWAROA 1950-1972Athenic 1901-1928KINI 1930-1956Lily 1905-1906KORANUI 1885-1889Wellington Head Office 1917-1990NGATORO 1962-1976ARAHURA 1905-1925TimetablesBoat HarbourNIAGARA 1913-1940KOROMIKO 1907-1928Alchiba TorpedoedTAVEUNI 1968-1972MATANGI 1929-1952ARAHINA ASSISTING HIKITIA