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.  



HobartCapacity Plan KORAKIWAINUI 1965-1970House FlagCowichin BayJohnMAPOURIKA 1898-1921KIWITEA 1925-1955Alexander 1903-1950Kent 2001-2008MAKURA 1908-1936PORT LAUNCESTON 1957-1977KURUTAI 1952-1972NGAIO 1921-1935PORT ST JOHN  1939 - 1961Wellington Patent SlipMANUKA 1903-1929UNION AOTEAROA 1977-1978HOLMBURN 1957 -KAIMAI 1924-1952MATUA 1936-1968USS American Legion (AP-35)BRUCE 1875-1875PORT JACKSON 1937-1967RANGATIRA 1931- 1967SPIRIT OF COMPETITIONWANAKA 1897-1927PORT CHALMERS 1933-1965HOLMBURN 1944-1954KAITOA 1956-1971KAITUNA  1905-1931WAINUI 1887-1929KONINI 1957-1971Wellington 4 FerriesTAHITI 1911-1930UNION HOBART 1976 -1984  SEAWAY HOBART 1984 -1988PORT NICHOLSON 1962-1979KAIARAHITALISMANPATEENA 1891-1924PORT VINDEX 1947-1971KORANUI 1885-1889KATEA 1958-1975UNION ROTORUA 1976-1998ARANUI  1966 -1984KUROW 1939-1965 WAIHORA 1883-1903Boat harbour