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.  



AOTEAROA CHIEFSuilven 1995-2002HOLMWOOD 1924-1939Full Harbour 1951TIROAUSS Republic (AP-33)KAITOA 1956-1971WAIRARAPA 1882-1894ENDEAVOURNapier OfficeZEPHYR 2KOMATA 1947-1967ARAHURAWAIRUNA 1946-1960Union AirwaysMAMAKU 1949-1972CONTAINER TERMINAL DAMAGE Straitsman 1992-2002ROTORUA 1876-1903LIMERICK 1925-1943WAITOMO 1946-1963Evans Bay LaundryRuapehu 1901-1931TAIOMA 1947-1975Wellington Patent SlipTekoa 1922-1958KUROW 1939-1965 TALISMANWAIKAWA    1946 - 1959CORINNA 1891-1930WanganuiWAITAKI 1964-1970UNION HOBART 1976 -1984  SEAWAY HOBART 1984 -1988UNION ROTORUA 1976-1998ARAHINA ASSISTING HIKITIAKINI 1930-1956PORT NAPIER 1912-1938HINEMOA 1946-1967UNION NELSON 1981-1991UNION TRANS TASMAN 1973 -1977AratereSydney Office ARANUI  1966 -1984Loading CheeseAlchiba TorpedoedCORDOBAHIKITIA and RAPAKI PENGUIN 1879-1909KAURI 1936-1962WAIKARE 1958-1975