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.  



Mataroa 1932-1957KAMO 1947-1958Tekoa 1922-1958RAILWAY WHARFARAHURA at seaAlchiba UnloadingGolden Princess & Interislander Ferries Nov 2015ARAHURA 1905-1925OVALAU 1891-1903TimetablesKORANUI 1956-1975STRAIT FERONIA1952 BUSY PORTMAUNGANUI 1911-1947ARATIKA 1974-1998CORINNA 1891-1930Straitsman 1992-2002Pakeha 1910-1946NGAIO 1921-1935KUMALLA 1956-1973TAROONA 1935 -1959UNION NEW ZEALAND 1972 - 1978KUROW  1909-1933GreymouthMARAROA 1885-1931USS American Legion (AP-35)Suilven 1995-2002TATANA  1955-1970NIAGARA 1913-1940Rangitoto 1949-1966John grounding UNION SYDNEY 1974-1977Grand Pacific HotelHINAKURA 1949-1966Arahanga LaunchQUEEN MARY 2 and CELEBRITY SOLSTICETAMAHINE 1925-1962WAINUI 1965-1970Menu 1958Rotorua 1910-1917PATEENA 1891-1924Cap BadgeWAHINE  1913 - 1951HOLMBURN 1957-1975Port New Plymouth LaunchNGAKUTA 1942-1952USS American Legion preparing for warMAHENO 1905-19351965