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.  



MAUREALEITRIM 1916-1929OMANA 1930-1951Port KemblaEssex, Kaimanawa, Port Napier and Suffolk HOLMWOOD 1924-1939ENDEAVOURJohnKAITOKE 1948-1972DISCOVERYKAREPO 1964-1978MAORI 1953-1974FOUR INTERISLANDERSMAKURA 1908-1936KAIMAI 1956-1972Opawa 1876-1899MARAMA 1907-1937PORT WANSTEADPORT WYNDHAM 1935-1966.Patea Wharves 1953USS WAKEFIELD arrrivesACHILLE LAUROWellingtonAotea Quay 1943UNION WELLINGTON  1974-1976SPIRIT OF ENTERPRISE 2000-2003KOROMIKO 1947-1967House FlagTONGARIRO 1925-1960Hororata 1942-1966JAMES O'BRIENGABRIELLA 1930AORANGI 1883-1899MAWHERA 1885-1902KINI 1930-1956Taioma and HinupahiOtaki 1953-1966HELEN DENNY 1900 - 1912Wellington OfficeCapacity Plan KORAKITALUNE 1930-1959TAHITI 1911-1930KUMALLA 1956-1973WAIKARE 1897-1910MARAROA 1885-1931KAIARAHIPORT WAIKATO 1940 - 1959