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.  



HMS Victor 1943-1945HIKITIA and RAPAKI HOLMLEA 1950-1967Alchiba UnloadingWAIRUNA 1919-1945Hurunui 1948-1966SPIRIT OF PROGRESS Wellington Head OfficeUSS Mount Vernon (AP-22)PORT VINDEX 1947-1971Evans Bay LaundryWAITEMATA 1946-1967DISCOVERYOVATION OF THE SEASKARAMEA & OCEAN BULK 1998-2003PORT WAIKATO 1940 - 1959Monowai 1930-1960KAWATIRI 1950-1971KENT loading campervans at Lyttelton October 2007LautokaHobartPORT WYNDHAM 1935-1966.KAITUNA 1956-1975JAMES O'BRIENKAITAKIPOOLTA  1959-1976Rakaia 1946-1966Picton 3 FerriesTYRONE  1912-1913KUMALLA 1956-1973JOHN 1911-1936RISDON 1959-1975Mataura 1968-1971HOLMWOOD 1952-1972KARETU 1964-1980SEAWAY QUEEN 1964-1975Taupo 1966-1970Shipping WellingtonSuffolk at PanamaUNION ENDEAVOUR 1989-1991STEVE IRWINUNION ROTOITI 1977-1999KAITOA 1909-1950KAIARAHIMATAURA 1883-1895KAREPO 1964-1978Arahanga LaunchOtaio 1958-1970OPIHI 1923-1936KONINI 1957-1971