Ship registration

Learn about the New Zealand Register of Ships, how to register your ship, the benefits, registration types and more.

Certificate application processing and office closures

Maritime New Zealand/Nō Te Rere Moana Aotearoa experiences high volumes of applications approaching the end of the year. Please be aware of the following key dates for applications to help you plan in advance of the holiday season.


Applications that arrive complete and fully paid (where payment is applicable) before this date will be prioritised for processing prior to the Christmas shut down.

Whilst we cannot guarantee complete processing during this time, these applications will be prioritised.

For your application to be assessed, it needs to include all required information, be legible, and have all supporting documents attached.

Applications missing any information will not be considered complete and are not guaranteed to be assessed during this period despite initial receipt date. 

Applications will continue to be assessed in order of date of receipt.

Due to current application volumes, complexity and timeframes we cannot guarantee that applications already in the queue will be processed prior to the Christmas shut down, and applications received from now (6th November 2023) are unlikely to have a final decision unless priority has been granted.

Some new applications may be completed within this period on a case by case basis, dependent on application type or other factors.
Ship registration and exemption requests may be processed faster.
15 December 2023 Certificates will not be sent following 15 December to ensure safe delivery over this period.
14 December 2023 Licensing and Certification services will not be available on this day
Noon 22 December 2023 – 8 January 2024 Maritime New Zealand/Nō Te Rere Moana Aotearoa offices will be closed for this period.  Licensing and Certification services will not be available during this period.


About registration

Ship registration provides nationality; a registered ship that travels overseas has the protection of the New Zealand Government. The registration papers provide proof of identity.

Additional benefits depend on the type of registration that a ship has. The type of registration required for a vessel depends on several factors, including:

  • if the ship will be used commercially or for pleasure
  • the length of the ship
  • if the ship is New Zealand or foreign owned
  • if the ship will go overseas

To determine whether you need to register your ship and, if so, the type of registration you need to apply for, use our flow chart.

Further information can be found in our ship registration guide.

Ship registration flow chart [PDF: 73kB, 1 page] A guide to ship registration [PDF: 63kB, 5 pages]


How to register your vessel

There are two types of ship registration and for some ships it is compulsory* to be registered:

1. Part A registration

Part A registration is mainly for larger commercial vessels.

2. Part B registration

Part B registration is mainly for recreational vessels voyaging overseas.

All transactions regarding ship registration involve making changes to the New Zealand Register of Ships. For example:

  • changing your registered address/vessel ownership
  • closing a registration
  • appointing a representative person
  • getting a replacement Certificate of Registration

* To determine whether you need to register your vessel, see our flow chart.


New Zealand Register of Ships

The New Zealand Register of Ships is a list of all vessels registered in New Zealand under the Ship Registration Act 1992.

The register, held in Maritime New Zealand’s Wellington office, is available for inspection by the public. The Registrar of Ships is responsible for maintaining the register.

The register has two parts (Part A and Part B) and includes details of those ships which must be registered under the Ship Registration Act 1992 and those ships whose owners have voluntarily chosen to register them.

Searching the register


Contact us

If you have any questions about ship registration, contact us.

+64 4 473 0111

Calls to this number are answered Monday to Friday 0900 – 1630 New Zealand local time (excluding national public holidays).