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.  



HINAKURA 1949-1966HOLMBURN 1957-1975Head OfficeKAURI 1936-1962KARAMEA & OCEAN BULK 1998-2003QUEEN MARY 2 and CELEBRITY SOLSTICERATA 1929-1958NewcastleUNION SYDNEY 1974-1977DAMAGE TO CONTAINER TERMINAL AFTER EARTHQUAKEWAITEMATA 1919-1932PORT HOBART 1926-1940QE 2 UNION AUCKLAND 1984-1997CANADIAN HIGHLANDER Dorset  1949-1972 TALUNE 1891-1925KAIWARRA 1919-1942Brittanic 1967-HAMILTON  1967- 1975PORT JACKSON 1937-1967Tongariro 1883-1899ANATOKIKARETU 1924-1951MAPOURIKA 1898-1921BARRETT REEF BUOYBEAUTIFUL STAR 1875-1899RAKAIA 1873-1892KATEA 1958-1975TOFUA 1908-1934Whakatane 1900-1924Aotea Quay 1942KAIKOURA 1884-1899MAUREAKAIMIRO 1929 -1956Portland (Whangarei)HMS Victor 1943-1945KUROW 1939-1965 Patea Wharves 1953FoxtonKAIMAI 1956-1972Port New Plymouth LaunchSuffolk at PanamaLoading CheeseWellingtonSuilven 1995-2002RIMUTAKA 1884-1899STRAIT FERONIA and ARATEREPORT AUCKLAND 1949-1976