Maritime New Zealand can trace its origins back to the establishment of the Marine Board in 1862. This was one of the first organs of State established in the colony of New Zealand. The organisation has been restructured many times since then.
After a period of Customs Department control during the last decades of the 19th century it became the Marine Department. The Department operated until 1972 when it was then absorbed into the Marine Division of the Ministry of Transport.
It was in turn renamed and restructured into the Ministry of Transport's Maritime Transport Division, during the initial stages of government restructuring in 1988.
The Maritime Safety Authority (MSA) was established as a Crown entity, separate from the Ministry of Transport on 20 August 1993.
The establishment of the Maritime Safety Authoritywas one part of a far-reaching Transport Law Reform Bill. The Bill addressed the full range of New Zealand maritime law and brought about the first major reform of the country's shipping legislation in nearly 40 years.
The Maritime Safety Authority was subsequently charged with administering the new Maritime Transport Act 1994 when it came into force in February 1995.
Maritime Transport Act 1994 [New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office]
The Maritime Safety Authority was renamed Maritime New Zealand on 1 July 2005. The new name was introduced by Parliament in order to better reflect the widening of the organisation's responsibilities to include maritime safety, security and marine environment protection.