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.  



TAHITI SINKINGENDEAVOURWhakatane 1900-1924America StarPORT CHALMERS 1969WAIRARAPA 1882-1894HOLMDALE 1961 - KAITUNA 1956-1975LautokaHOLMWOOD 1952-19723 Ferries at Wellington UNION TRANS TASMAN 1973 -1977Wellington Harbour 1943Suilven 1995-2002TAVIUNI 1890-1924KUROW 1939-1965 GreymouthStraitsman 1992-2002Dominion Monarch 1938-1962Kent 2001-2008Straitsman 2010-KAITOA 1909-1950WAINUI 1930-1958Kahika  1915-1933WAITAKI 1964-1970WAIHORA 1883-1903HOLMLEA 1936-1950TALUNE 1930-1959TE AROHA 1935-1936Hororata 1942-1966RAKAIA 1873-1892PORT ALFRED 1961-1978PORT NAPIER 1912-1938KAITUNA  1905-1931HOLMGLEN 1931-1951TERAWHITI 1907-1947HOLMBURN 1957-1975Piako 1962-1966KAITANGATA 1948-1968WAIKARE 1958-1975KAIWARRA 1919-1942WanganuiNAVUA 1904-1926Santa Regina 2002-TAIKO 1984-1999Beacon Hill Signal SationPort KemblaCORDOBALincoln 1958-1965House Flag