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 Board appointed by the Minister of Transport under the Maritime Transport Act 1994.

We have about 330 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.

At Maritime NZ, we’re on a multi-year journey working towards becoming an increasingly successful regulator. Through our organisational strategy Te Korowai o Kaitiakitanga - The Cloak of Stewardship, we’re bringing together our aroha, work and skills to ensure we can operate more strongly as regulatory stewards of the maritime domain.


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.

Our entry control system

Maritime New Zealand
Learn more about entering into the maritime system.

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.

‘Our Oceans: Our Future’

This four minute video promotes an understanding of our role in the maritime sector, specifically focusing on our leadership role in the Pacific region, rescue coordination in Antarctica and across the Pacific. It also covers our contribution to international work on the Polar Code designed to reduce safety, environmental and rescue risk in Antarctica.

Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology ©2019
Our Oceans: Our Future

Related information:

International Engagement

We engage with a wide range of international maritime organisations.

Learn more