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.  



Lily 1905-1906KARAMEA 1998-2003AORAKIKORANUI 1920-1953KAIKORAI 1920-1948TimetablesFoundry Staff 1905KONINI 1957-1971Golden Princess & Interislander Ferries Nov 2015Rangitoto 1949-1966SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENCESTRAIT FERONIAHelen Denny 1900-1912Piako 1962-1966ARAHANGA 1972 - 2001UNION NELSON 1981-1991HOLMBURN 1944-1954JAMES O'BRIENBluffTAVEUNI 1968-1972TAROONA 1935 -1959Cowichin BayWaimea 1909-1928KAROON 1951-1968WESTPORTMenu 1958TOREAKOMATA 1947-1967HOLMPARK 1965-1972Ruahine 1909-1949QUEEN MARY 2 and CELEBRITY SOLSTICEWellington OfficeGABRIELLA 1930FOXTONBRUCE 1875-1875Alchiba UnloadingHINAKURA 1949-1966Grand Pacific HotelKAIAPOI  1906-1930WAINUI 1887-1929IAN FELTHAM INTERVIEWHOLMLEA 1936-1950KAWATIRI 1950-1971NUSA PUTERAKAIPARA 1903-1914Princess Danae x Port MelbourneWAITARA 1873-1883KANNA 1946-1967Gothic 1948-1969UPOLU 1891 - 1903