What we do

Maritime NZ is the national regulatory, compliance and response agency for the safety, security and environmental protection of coastal and inland waterways.

We are a Crown entity set up in 1993 and are governed by a five-member Board appointed by the Minister of Transport under the Maritime Transport Act 1994.

We have approximately 250 staff located in our 10 regional offices and Wellington head office, at our Marine Pollution Response Centre in Auckland and our Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand in Lower Hutt.

It is our mission to lead and support the maritime community to take responsibility for ensuring our seas are safe, secure and clean, on behalf of all New Zealanders.

Maritime NZ has three key roles:

1. Regulation and compliance

We help to develop and maintain the national safety, security and environmental protection regulations that govern the operation of vessels, ports and offshore installations in New Zealand waters. We support, encourage and require operator compliance with those regulations by:

  • licensing and certifying seafarers and commercial operations
  • educating the maritime community
  • auditing operators and service providers such as ship surveyors
  • investigating incidents to try to stop them happening again
  • enforcing the regulations to hold people to account for their actions.

2. Provision of maritime safety infrastructure

We maintain New Zealand’s coastal navigation aids to shipping (principally coastal lights), the national maritime distress and safety radio service, and an emergency locator beacon detection network for land, sea and air.

3. Response to incidents

We provide a national land, sea and air search and rescue coordination service. We also manage the development and improvement of national maritime incident and oil spill response capability, and lead New Zealand’s responses to significant maritime incidents and emergencies, including oil spills.

Related information:
Learn about how we engage with our international audiences and partners.

International Engagement

We engage with a wide range of international maritime organisations.
Learn more
Our visual timeline highlights some major events in our maritime history.


Learn about New Zealand’s maritime history.
View timeline