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.  



KARETU 1964-1980HOLMDALE 1981-1991ArahuraPatea in its HeydayTAKAPUNA 1883-1924WAINUI 1887-1929Lincoln 1958-1965Opua SurvivorsKAWERAU 1955-1975MAWHERA 1885-1902TANEA at WanganuiPort New Plymouth LaunchMANAPOURI 1882-1915Hurunui 1948-1966NGAIO 1921-1935POOLTA 1925-1952 Shipping WellingtonLautokaWAREATEA 1887-1904DunedinPORT NEW PLYMOUTH 1960-1979WAHINE  1913 - 1951WAIANA 1937-1966JAMES O'BRIENNiagara 1913-1940PAMIR 1942-1948BERTHAGE PLAN 1929UNION SOUTH PACIFIC  1973 - 1978Evans Bay LaundryAPARIMA 1902-1917KUMALLA 1956-1973MATAURA 1883-18951952 BUSY PORTKAIRANGA 1924-1956Evans Bay LaundryEDWIN FOX 1873-1886Opawa 1876-1899OVALAU 1891-1903Straitsman 1992-2002Wellington 5 FerriesBluffQUEEN ELIZABETH 2QUEENS WHARF TOWERAORANGI 1924-1953IVYBANKKAKAPO 1937-1960Lyttelton 1862-1881Foundry Staff 1905AQUITANIA, EMPRESS of BRITAIN and EMPRESS of JAPAN SEAWAY PRINCESS 1976-1985