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.  



WAIPORI 1901-1928AOTEAROA 1913Pakeha 1910-1946Opawa 1876-1899MOERAKI 1902-1933EARTHQUAKE DAMAGE AT WELLINGTON CONTAINER TERMINALSPIRIT OF FREEDOMLytteltonHOLMLEA 1936-1950PORT JACKSON 1937-1967MANAPOURI 1882-1915PORT WANSTEADARATIKA 1974-1998Port ChalmersWAINUI 1965-1970USS LONG BEACHPatea Wharves 1953LIMERICK 1925-1943MATAURA 1883-1895TONGARIRO 1925-1960Port KemblaWAIHEMO 1946-1966UNION ROTOITI 1977-1999SPIRIT OF COMPETITIONHAWEA 1875-1888RINGAROOMA 1878-1901MAUNGANUI 1911-1947Rangitoto 1949-1966RAILWAY WHARFWAIRATA 1947-1967Alexander 1903-1950Halcione 1880-1896KAMO 1947-1958Rangitiki 1929-1962Brittanic 1967-HOLMBANK 1962 - 63REBUILDING THE CONTAINER BERTHKOPUA 1947-1959George Elliot SinkingAotea Quay 1943PORT WAIKATO 1947-1959Monte Stello 2006-2010KAWAROA 1950-1972TOWAI 1954-1969KOOTARA 1952-1975KORAKI 1957-1975TARAWERA 1958-1974KARETU  1926 - 1956