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.  



Ruahine 1951-1966RAINBOW WARRIOR  Feb 2013ARATEREWAIANA 1937-1966HOLMBURN 1957OPIHI 1923-1936SPIRIT OF CANTERBURYEvans Bay LaundryLEITRIM 1916-1929  NARBADA  1929-1948WHANGAPE 1900-1928WANAKA 1876-1891Menu 1958MONOWAI  1890-1926KATEA 1958-1975BARRETT REEF BUOYREBUILDING THE CONTAINER BERTHNIKAU 1909-1954DunedinUNION ROTORUA 1976-1998PENGUIN 1879-1909MATUA 1936-1968HMS RAMILLIESUNION MELBOURNE 1975 - 1980TAHITI 1911-1930KAIARAHIMARAMA 1969-1985  PORT JACKSON 1937-1967PURIRI 1938-1940 UPOLU 1891 - 1903KARITANE 1939-1965AWATEA 1936-1942RaratongaKOMATA 1947-1967Patea Wharves 1953LST's at Kings Wharf 3 Submarine BoomPatea in its HeydayPiako 1962-1966KARTIGI 1925-1955Whakatane 1900-1924WAITAKI 1964-1970FLOATING DOCKAorere 1889-1896WAIPA 1875-1895HOLMLEA 1950-1967HOLMGLEN 1955-1959MAHENO 1905-1935LIMERICK 1925-1943Port New Plymouth LaunchWanganui 1877-1888