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.  



JOHN 1911-1936ZEPHYR 2POOLTA 1925-1952 PORT AUCKLAND 1949-1976Port Chalmers Marine WorkshopsMOERAKI 1902-1933Patea Wharves 1953PURIRI 1948-1974NGAIO 1921-1935KARAMU 1953-1972ANATOKIOtaio 1958-1970Port ChalmersWAHINE 1966 -1968TOREAOVATION OF THE SEASCharles Edward 1868-1908UNION LYTTELTON  1977- 1983  SEAWAY MELBOURNE 1983 - 1992UNION ENDEAVOUR 1989-1991HMS Victor 1943-1945House FlagMAUNGANUI 1911 - 1947DAMAGE TO CONTAINER TERMINAL AFTER EARTHQUAKEHOLMDALE 1981-1991Ruahine 1909-1949PORT WYNDHAM 1935-1966.STRAIT FERONIA passing STRAITSMANStenhouse BayArahuraKAIARAHIPort New Plymouth LaunchTimetablesTOFUA 1951-1973UNLOADING STOCK KAIMIRO 1929 -1956UNION MELBOURNE 1975 - 1980Aotea Quay 1942WINGATUI  1920-1951AORAKIHOLMGLEN 1931-1951UPOLU 1891 - 1903TAVIUNI 1890-1924Bad weather in Wellington / Cook StraitWAIKAWA    1946 - 1959PORT CHALMERS 1969-1982Opua SurvivorsBEAUTIFUL STAR 1875-1899