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.  



WAKATEREPAMIR 1942-1948TAMAHINE 1925-1962UNION TRANS TASMAN 1973 -1977WANAKA 1897-1927KOKIRI 1951-1968WAIKARE 1897-1910Shipping WellingtonATHELVISCOUNT  1965-1978KUROW 1939-1965 KINI 1930-1956DARTFORD 1908-1946ANATOKIKent 2001-2008KOROMIKO 1907-1928SPIRIT OF VISION 1995-2003NGAHERE 1966-1987Golden Princess & Interislander Ferries Nov 2015SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENCEUNION AOTEAROA 1977-1978Wellington OfficeNapier OfficeZEPHYR 2USS WAKEFIELD arrrivesAotea Quay 1943PORT ADELAIDE 1951-1972BEAUTIFUL STAR 1875-1899KAIARAHIAotea Quay 1943PORT WAIKATO 1940 - 19591965SEAWAY PRINCE 1975-1985KAITOA 1909-1950CONTAINER TERMINAL DAMAGE USS Republic (AP-33)POOLTA  1959-1976STRAIT FERONIAPakeha 1910-19461952 BUSY PORTWellington Head Office 1917-1990MAUNGANUI 1911-1947PORT NAPIER 1912-1938HURUNUI 1875-1895POOLTA 1925-1952 RANGATIRA 1931- 1967JAMES O'BRIENPORT WANSTEADHalcione 1880-1896