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.  



WAIMATE 1874-1888PORT AUCKLAND 1949-1976WATERSIDERREBUILDING THE CONTAINER BERTHEMPRESS OF BRITIANMONOWAI  1890-1926WANAKA 1897-1927Opawa 1876-1899TAMAHINE 1925-1962HOLMBURN 1944-1954Dunedin 1874-1890TAIKO 1984-1999Tongariro 1901-1916KAITUNA  1905-1931HMS Victor 1943-1945IAN FELTHAM INTERVIEWDARTFORD 1908-1946SEAWAY PRINCE 1975-1985KARAMEA & OCEAN BULK 1998-2003KOOTARA 1952-1975MARAROA 1885-1931KAITAKIPOOLTA 1925-1952 Tekoa 1922-1958WAHINE 1966 -1968RINGAROOMA 1878-1901AratereBUSY QUEENS WHARFDarling Harbour (Sydney)WAIKAWA    1946 - 1959UNION ENDEAVOUR 1989-1991Cap BadgeBEAUTIFUL STAR 1875-1899KARTIGI 1925-1955AMOKURA 1978-1993OVATION OF THE SEASKANNA 1946-1967Wellington Patent SlipBeacon HillNIKAU 1909-1954SPIRIT OF CANTERBURYUSS BAINBRIDGELEITRIM 1916-1929  NARBADA  1929-1948Patea in its HeydayMataroa 1932-1957WAIRARAPA 1882-1894Helen Deny 1866-1896PORT CHALMERS 1933-1965KAIRANGA 1924KOROMIKO 1947-1967