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.  



Wellington Head Office 1917-1990NewcastleWAIMARINO 1930 - 1957UNION TRANS TASMAN 1973 -1977IVYBANKHMS RAMILLIESMAPOURIKA 1898-1921MONOWAI 1930-1960PORT NEW PLYMOUTH LAUNCHRangitiki 1929-1962KAITAWA 1949-1966KAIMIRO 1956-1975KAWATIRI 1887-1907PATEENA 1891-1924OPIHI 1923-1936UNION SYDNEY 1983-1986Wellington Head OfficeUSS Mount Vernon (AP-22)OROWAITI 1887-1903PAREORA 1876-1887Beacon HillAmerica StarGrand Pacific HotelRAKAIA 1873-1892Aotea Quay 1943TAMAHINE 1925-1962Barnett Landing craftHOLMBURN 1957 -WANAKA 1970-1976Straitsman 2010-Cap BadgeLOADING STOCKKAIWARRA 1919-1942SPIRIT OF CANTERBURYTanker AUSTRALIA at Point Howard Wharf c.1930LautokaKARAMU 1953-1972SPIRIT OF ENTERPRISE 2000-2003WAIHEMO 1919 - 1934Patea River EntranceRotorua 1910-1917WAIPORI 1901-1928KARAMEA & OCEAN BULK 1998-2003HOLMWOOD 1924-1939Head OfficeHororata 1942-1966UNION SYDNEY 1974-1977KAIKOURA 1884-1899USS WAKEFIELD arrrives