The Ship & Marine Society was formed in 1949 and is comprised of people from all sections of the community and from many different countries who have an interest in ships and maritime activities. Join us!

Our website contains a random selection of short articles, a list of maritime books and where they can be obtained, short histories of shipping companies, the ships and some personalities which trade or have traded to New Zealand, copies of our journal New Zealand Maritime News and Watts Shipping Register. 

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 have been 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.

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We welcome relevant news stories, photographs & articles.

You can also add your comments to existing content help us with the identification of people, ships and events.  

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Latest content:

DHM MacLEOD1924-59 Ships Using Pilots       OCaptain W R SlaterAQUITANIA, EMPRESS of BRITAIN and EMPRESS of JAPAN UNION AOTEAROA 1977-1978Union AirwaysMarine News 1985 Vol 36 Issue 01C H PalmerRoss + Fiona SutherlandKONINI 1957-1971P0RT HOBART 1926-1940Captain F G BiltonERRADALEUNION ROTOITI 1977-1999Neil McIlraith, Richard Nicol and Jock CainTAVIUNI 1890-1924Captain A T NortonSharyn & John van Aalst + Angus and Anne McLanachanNewcastleRFA BAYLEAFMarine News 2003 51 03 KAIRANGA 1924-1956TALISMANMaritime Watch - Issue 15Captain C I BirnieMarine News 1954 Vol 06 Issue 02Shipping at WanganuiCapt D N McLeishRon and Leslie McKenzieMarine News 2005 53 04CLIPPER ODYSSEYCaptain E M AndersonCaptain M McKenzieGRAN FINALEUNION NELSON 1981-1991Captain D HarknessROTORUA 1876-1903Captain M Deane4021Wairarapa, 1884TAIKA 2008-WAIRUNA 1919-1945Marine News 1959 Vol 11 Issue 03Remuera 1913 - 1940John Kersall +PURIRI 1938-1940 Captain H J PettyMarine News 1960 Vol 12 Issue 04Marine News 2000 Vol 48 Issue 03