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.  



Mataroa 1932-1957FoxtonSanta Regina 2002-WAIRIMU 1948-1966TAUPATA 1939-1949WANAKA 1938-1965KAIARAHIHOLMBURN 1957IAN FELTHAM INTERVIEWTARAWERA 1882-1927HAUPIRI 1896-1915Menu 1958Piako 1962-1966AQUITANIAOVATION OF THE SEASKAIRANGA 1924-1956TAUPO 1875-1879WATERSIDERWellington 4 FerriesEssex, Kaimanawa, Port Napier and Suffolk Tongariro 1901-1916Otaki 1953-1966HOLMWOOD 1952-1972SPIRIT OF FREE ENTERPRISE 1983-1985KAITUNA 1956-1975Brittanic 1967-KOROWAI 1938-1965WAIRARAPA 1882-1894SEAWAY PRINCE 1975-1985WAREATEA 1887-1904HIKITIA and RAPAKI KONINI 1957-1971PORT AUCKLAND 1949-1976AMOKURA 1978-1993Patea Wharves 1953WANAKA 1897-1927PORT CHALMERS 1933-1965WILLEM RUYSPORT CHALMERS 1969LST's at Kings Wharf 3 Port NelsonMOKOIA 1898-1928AucklandGrand Pacific HotelFLOATING DOCKUNION NELSON 1981-1991Taupo 1966-1970HobartWAIPA 1875-1895