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.  



LIMERICK 1925-1943UPOLU 1891 - 1903MAMAKU 1949-1972WORSER BAY PILOT STATIONTarekena Bay Pilot StationHOLMBURN 1957 -HIKITIA and RAPAKI REMUERA 1911-1940MAITAI  1908-1916HMNZS WELLINGTONHMS VINDEX 1943-1946 HAURAKI 1922-1942Tongariro 1901-1916STRAIT FERONIAHAUPIRI 1896-1915Koi 1906-1930ThevenardAthenic 1901-1928AratereWellington Head Office 1917-1990NIKAU 1909-1954TALISMANAucklandRangitoto 1949-1966Tongariro 1967-1970LytteltonPORT NICHOLSON 1962-1979KAITUNA 1956-1975Tanker AUSTRALIA at Point Howard Wharf c.1930KAWATIRI 1887-1907HOLMLEA 1950-19671952 BUSY PORTPORT JACKSON 1937-1967KAIARAHIMONOWAI 1930-1960Bad weather in Wellington / Cook StraitKAIWARRA 1919-1942Loading CheeseARATIKA 1974-1998Remuera 1961-1967MAORI 1953-1974UNION ROTOMA 1991-1999KOOTARA 1952-1975WAIMEA 1953-1975LOADING STOCKKAIMANAWA 1944-1966BERTHAGE PLAN 1929Wellington Patent SlipFPSO RAROAGothic 1948-1969