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.  



Turakina 1960-1970PORT WAIKATO 1947-1959TAMAHINE 1925-1962CARGO HANDLINGUSS American Legion preparing for warOtaio 1930-1941HOLMDALE 1981-1991Portland (Whangarei)TYRONE  1912-1913RAILWAY WHARFCoptic 1928-1965INAHA KOMATA 1947-1967SPIRIT OF ENTERPRISE 2000-2003PORT AUGUSTA 1906-1925SPIRIT OF RESOLUTION  1999 - 2012KARAMU 1953-1972Cap BadgeTAHITI SINKINGAucklandSPIRIT OF CANTERBURYKARU 1935-19641934MOURA 1899-1915Wanganui 1877-1888ARAHANGA 1972 - 2001ROTOMAHANA 1879-1925SEAWAY PRINCESS 1976-1985OVATION OF THE SEASEvans Bay LaundryUnion AirwaysWAIMARINO 1915-1926WAIPA 1875-1895KAIRANGA 1924-1956WAIKARE 1958-1975NATONE 1900-1947NIKAU 1909-1954DISCOVERYNGATORO 1942-1949HOLMBURN 1957SPIRIT OF VISION 1995-2003TATANA  1955-1970WAIPORI 1901-1928JohnKARTIGI 1925-1955MAHENO 1905-1935