A sealing party from the trader Britannia (Captain William Raven) was left at Dusky Sound from November 1792 to September 1793, and during this time the men erected a house and a wharf and almost completed a vessel of between 60 and 70 tons. In October 1795 an old East Indiaman, the Endeavour, which, with a small ship in company, had encountered a heavy gale in the Tasman and developed leaks, took shelter in Dusky Sound. After a survey and further damage the ship was abandoned. Fortunately, the vessel partially built by Raven's sealers was still on the stocks. The crew and the convict stowaways quickly completed and launched it, rigging it out as the schooner Providence. With 90 on board she left Dusky Sound on 7 January 1796 and arrived at Norfolk Island 12 days later.
Not until 1826 was there another vessel built in New Zealand. This was the Herald launched on 26 January at Paihia by the Reverend Henry Williams for the Church Missionary Society. She was a schooner of about 60 tons and made three voyages to Sydney before being wrecked at Hokianga in 1828. It was at Hokianga Harbour that Raine and Ramsay and Browne of Sydney established the first commercial dockyard. At a site first called Dept-ford but later known as Horeke, three vessels were built. The first, built early in 1828, was the schooner Enterprise, and the second was the New Zealander (1828), a brigantine of 140 tons. She was the fastest vessel sailing out of Sydney at the time and on her first voyage did the Tasman trip in less than six days. The third, the Sir George Murray, was launched in 1830 and was of 394 tons burden. She was sold to be used as a whaler despite the lack of a register. The troubles of the British owners of these ships in obtaining registries and a flag to fly led to the adoption of the first New Zealand flag. The first New Zealand register was issued for the Joseph Weller, schooner 49 69/94 tons, belonging to George Weller, merchant, Sydney, and built in 1831.