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.  



TAUPO 1875-1879WINGATUI  1920-1951WAIHORA 1883-1903PORT NAPIER 1912-1938KARETU  1926 - 1956GreymouthGABRIELLA 1930ANATOKIBeacon HillKARAMEA 1998-2003Cowichin BayLEITRIM 1916-1929WAIMATE 1874-1888LytteltonTAHITI 1911-1930ZEPHYR 2Patea Wharves 1953Mataura 1968-1971NGAPARA 1966-1986C A LARSONAORAKIQUEEN MARY 2USS LONG BEACHDarling Harbour (Sydney)KALINGO 1930-1943SPIRIT OF ENTERPRISE 2000-2003Opua SurvivorsTERAWHITI 1907-1947PORT SYDNEY 1955-1972KAIKOURA 1884-1899Wanganui 1877-1888Wellington OfficeRangitata 1929-1962TYRONE  1912-1913Alexander 1903-1950Wairarapa, 1884Opawa 1876-1899RAINBOW WARRIOR  Feb 2013KAIWARRA 1919-1942UNION ENDEAVOUR 1989-1991NATONE 1900-1947HAURAKI 1922-1942Ruapehu 1901-1931KAROON 1951-1968ThevenardTongariro 1883-1899AQUITANIAHOLMWOOD 1952-1972NGAKUTA 1942-1952