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.  



MATANGI 1929-1952MAUNGANUI 1911 - 1947NIAGARA 1913-1940HOLMPARK 1965-1972AORANGI 1910-1914George Elliot SinkingKARAMEA & OCEAN BULK 1998-2003STENA PROVENCETAIOMA 1947-1975Tarekena Bay Pilot StationSPIRIT OF INDEPENDENCEKAITANGATA 1948-1968HMS Victor 1943-1945KATEA 1958-1975PORT WAIKATO 1940 - 1959WAKATERESPIRIT OF CANTERBURYBad weather in Wellington / Cook StraitAOTEAROA CHIEFBoat HarbourBRUCE 1875-1875KARTIGI 1925-1955TAHITI 1911-1930FOUR INTERISLANDERSTARAWERA 1882-1927KOPUA 1947-1959PORT INVERCARGILL 1958-1975Portland (Whangarei)LEITRIM 1916-1929  NARBADA  1929-1948MAMAKU 1949-1972Niagara 1913-1940Boat harbourKIWITEA 1925-1955UNION ROTORUA 1976-1998TOFUA 1908-1934KORANUI 1885-1889WESTPORTAucklandTekoa 1922-1958PAMIR 1942-1948PAREORA 1876-1887OVATION OF THE SEASGreymouthRATA 1929-1958FPSO RAROASydney Office KAITUNA 1956-1975Port New Plymouth LaunchMAKURA 1908-1936Ruapehu 1901-1931