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.  



POOLTA  1959-1976UNION HOBART 1976 -1984  SEAWAY HOBART 1984 -1988John grounding Alchiba TorpedoedUNION SOUTH PACIFIC  1973 - 1978Aotea Quay 1943Wellington Head Office 1917-1990TAROONA 1935 -1959ARANUI  1966 -1984WAIMARINO 1930 - 1957KAIRANGA 1924SPIRIT OF PROGRESS KORAKI 1957-1975Full Harbour 1951Cap BadgeKAITOKE 1948-1972NAVUA 1904-1926UNION TRANS TASMAN 1973 -1977Wellington Head OfficeAOTEAROA 1913DunedinOpua SurvivorsWAINUI 1887-1929HOLMWOOD 1952-1972WAITEMATA 1946-1967WAIHORA 1883-1903Ruapehu 1901-1931NGATORO 1942-1949KAROON 1951-1968Cargo Plan WAIRATA 1956Suilven 1995-2002PORT HOBART 1926-1940KATUI  1947-1967WAIRUNA 1946-1960LOONGANA 1904-1936TARAWERA 1958-1974Essex, Kaimanawa, Port Napier and Suffolk WORSER BAY PILOT STATIONSPIRIT OF ENDURANCEWAIPORI 1938-1965MARAMA 1969-1985  MANAPOURI 1882-1915KAIWARRA 1919-1942Bad weather in Wellington / Cook StraitKENT loading campervans at Lyttelton October 2007HOLMGLEN 1955-1959KAHIKA 1915KARETU  1926 - 1956TOFUA 1908-1934