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.  



KAIMANAWA 1944-1966HMS Victor 1943-1945Shipping WellingtonKARAMEA & OCEAN BULK 1998-2003SydneyKATUI  1947-1967TOTARA 1957-1979Picton 3 FerriesUNION SOUTH PACIFIC  1973 - 1978WALLACEKOROMIKO 1947-1967ROTORUA 1876-1903KAITAKIPORT CHALMERS 1969Tongariro 1967-1970WAHINE  1913 - 1951HOLMWOOD 1924-1939PORT LAUNCESTON 1957-1977Grand Pacific HotelUNION HOBART 1976 -1984  SEAWAY HOBART 1984 -1988DAMAGE TO CONTAINER TERMINAL AFTER EARTHQUAKEAorere 1889-1896AOTEAROA CHIEFKAWATIRI 1950-1971Port NelsonKARETU 1964-1980NATONE 1900-1947TALISMANUNION HOBART 1976-1993NGAHERE 1966-1987Aotea Quay 1943House FlagWAINUI 1930-1958KORAKI 1957-1975HOLMWOOD 1952-1972ANATOKINGATORO 1962-1976KOROMIKO 1907-1928KOTUKU  1900-1912MIDDLESEXHobartUSS American Legion (AP-35)Halcione 1880-1896KARETU 1924-1951KEKERANGU 1920-1953SEAWAY KING 1964-1976HOLMDALE 1921-1956Tongariro 1883-1899FLOATING DOCKARAHURA at sea