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.  



PORT ADELAIDE 1951-1972KAMO 1947-1958Alexander 1903-1950WAIKAWA    1946 - 1959PAMIR 1942-1948PORT CHALMERS 1969-1982America StarTOPCATTurakina 1960-1970Wellington Head OfficeKEKERANGU 1920-1953Gothic 1948-1969KAIPARA 1903-1914MANUIAPORT SYDNEY 1955-1972Arahanga LaunchLOONGANA 1904-1936USS Republic (AP-33)STRAIT FERONIA passing STRAITSMANJOHN 1911-1936REBUILDING THE CONTAINER BERTHPort ChalmersAQUITANIA, EMPRESS of BRITAIN and EMPRESS of JAPAN WAITAKI 1934-1958INAHA at PateaHOLMBANK 1962 - 63Piako 1962-1966PictonPORT LAUNCESTON 1957-1977Stenhouse BayHMS VINDEX 1943-1946 MAMAKU 1949-1972Sailing timeEARTHQUAKE DAMAGE AT WELLINGTON CONTAINER TERMINALHAMILTON  1967- 1975NAVUA 1955-1971WANAKA 1876-1891Aotea Quay 1943HOLMLEA 1936-1950HAWEA 1875-1888TE ANAU 1879-1924NewcastleEMPRESS OF BRITIANKARAMU 1912UNION SOUTH PACIFIC  1973 - 1978UNION TRANS TASMAN 1973 -1977KOPUA 1947-1959Lily 1905-1906STEVE IRWINWAIPORI 1938-1965