Union History

The Waterfront Workers Union and Seafarers Unions formed the Maritime Union of New Zealand in 2002.

It was a logical move for two closely allied groups of workers – seafarers and wharfies – have a long history of looking out for each other.

Both Unions had their origins in the late nineteenth century when maritime workers carried out hard, manual labour in often dangerous conditions.

The history of maritime industries was one of casual labour, injury and death on the job, and ruthless employers.

Our members had to fight for and defend their right to secure permanent jobs, a decent wage and safe conditions of work.

We have stood together to improve the lot of working people and their communities since those early days.

It is this commitment to active, struggle based unionism and rank and file involvement which defines what the Maritime Union of New Zealand is all about.

In the 21st century, our workforce continues its vital role in New Zealand’s economy and its international trade links.

The Maritime Union of New Zealand intends to continue its proud tradition of democracy, militancy and international worker solidarity.

We are the Union is an eight page pamphlet that gives a background on our history and what we do (click to download).


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