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.  



WAIHEMO 1946-1966UPOLU 1891 - 1903TAKAPUNA 1883-1924DunedinPORT WYNDHAM 1935-1966.ORETI  1888-1897Tanker AUSTRALIA at Point Howard Wharf c.1930Athenic 1901-1928NukualofaKOONYA 1957-1971KAIMAI 1924-1952PORT NEW PLYMOUTH 1960-1979UNION MELBOURNE 1975 - 1980ARATIKA 1974-1998Kahika  1915-1933WanganuiLOONGANA 1904-1936HOLMBURN 1944-1954SPIRIT OF COMPETITIONPORT LAUNCESTON 1957-1977LIMERICK 1925-1943HOLMGLEN 1955-1959MATANGI 1929-1952Mataura 1968-1971TIROAROTOMAHANA 1879-1925NIAGARA 1913-1940KUROW 1939-1965 RATA 1929-1958MARAMA 1969-1985  HURUNUI 1875-1895MAUREAWORSER BAY PILOT STATIONSTRAIT FERONIA and ARATEREPOOLTA 1925-1952 RAINBOW WARRIOR  Feb 2013WAINUI 1965-1970OMANA 1930-1951WAITEMATA 1946-1967Princess Danae x Port MelbourneARAHURA AT THE END OF LINEUSS Talamanca (AF-15)Wellington Head Office 1917-1990ANATOKIWATERSIDERKARAMEA & OCEAN BULK 1998-2003Rakaia 1946-1966Patea Wharves 1953KARAMU 1953-1972Wellington Harbour 1943