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.  



KALINGO 1930-1943Lyttelton 1862-1881Mataura 1968-1971EVANS BAY PATENT SLIPTOFUA 1951-1973RATA 1929-1958TARAWERA 1958-1974KAIAPOI 1949-1968NGAKUTA 1942-1952TOTARA 1957-1979HELEN DENNY 1900 - 1912Pakeha 1910-1946WAIRATA 1947-1967MAUNGANUI 1911-1947AORANGI 1883-1899Cowichin BayHalcione 1880-1896Loading CheeseHIKITIA and RAPAKI ATHELVISCOUNT  1965-1978NGAPARA 1966-1986Evans Bay LaundryUNLOADING STOCK WHANGAPE 1900-1928KARAMU 1912KIWITEA 1925-1955WAIKARE 1958-1975Straitsman 2010-Piako 1962-1966MATAURA 1883-1895LIMERICK 1925-1943TAMAHINE 1925-1962Stenhouse BayHOLMBURN 1944-1954ARATIKA 1974-1998Picton 3 FerriesARMAGH 1917-1923FLOATING DOCKOtaio 1958-1970KAIWARRA 1919-1942POOLTA 1925-1952 ARAHURA at seaKAREPO 1964-1978SPIRIT OF ENTERPRISE 2000-2003TONGARIRO 1925-1960Armagh 1917KUROW 1939-1965 TAUPATA 1939-1949Auckland