Palmerston North is situated on the banks of the Manawatu
River at the foot of the Tararua Mountain Range. The
subdivision of Palmerston North began in 1866, with
the most important stimulus to the growth of the town
being the development of pastoral farming. As early
European settlers cleared the native forest with axe
and fire, a new vegetation of grasses and clovers
provided the basis for cattle and sheep farming. The
city has been able to maintain a complementary relationship
between the modern conveniences and technology of
big city life, and the quality and ease of small town
lifestyle, offering visitors and residents alike 'the
best of both worlds'.
Palmerston North is a vibrant youthful city with the
active student population, nearby Linton Military
Camp, and several knowledge organisations. Since 1930
the City's economic base has been broadened by the
establishment of Massey University and the New Zealand
Dairy Research Institute, hence it bears the distinction
of being New Zealand's `Knowledge City'., all adding
to a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
to rival that found anywhere in New Zealand awaits
the serious 'retail therapist', whilst connoisseurs
of fine food, a good espresso or a great nightlife
will find themselves spoilt for choice from the tasty
smorgasbord of restaurants, cafes and bars. One professional
and two amateur live theatre companies, New Zealand's
most successful multiplex cinema, and the recent 12
million dollar complete refurbishment of the city's
magnificent 'Regent on Broadway' make Palmerston North
a popular destination for enthusiasts of the screen
calibre and central locations of the city's many venues
ensure that Palmerston North hosts a number of national,
international and special shows and events annually.
Although on the doorstep of Manawatu's rural playgrounds,
Palmerston North is home to an array of activities
and attractions. An interactive Science Centre &
Manawatu Museum, galleries, golf courses, parks and
walkways, indoor climbing and karting...just a sample
of those on offer! Each October to March the city
roars to life with the popular Stockcar season, including
World Championship races, while February hosts the
family Esplanade Open Day, an extravaganza of stalls,
entertainment, displays and music all set in the beautiful
Victoria Esplanade Gardens. March brings the annual
International Festival, a colourful celebration of
the ethnic diversity embraced by the people and city
of Palmerston North.
North is served by an excellent international airport
only a short distance from the city. It has a very
good record for all weather operation, and the 1500
metre runway is capable of taking all domestic and
some international aircraft currently flying within
New Zealand. Both Air New Zealand and Ansett New Zealand
operate first class trunk services, while Freedom
Air operates a trans Tasman service. A considerable
number of commuter aircraft also serve the City, including
Mount Cook Airlines, Air Nelson, and Eagle Airways.
In April 1996, the first International flight departed
Palmerston North Airport, which now boasts 4 International
flights per week to Sydney, Brisbane and return.
road, Palmerston North is only seven hours drive from
Auckland and two hours from the capital, Wellington.
The City's central location also places it within
easy two hour drives of the North Islands Central
Plateau skifields, the beaches and wineries of the
Hawkes Bay, Mount Taranaki and historic Maori sites
of the Taranaki region, and the rural splendor of
nature has endowed Manawatu area with endless opportunities
to experience the great outdoors, from short walks
in splendid native bush, half day walks through the
spectacular Manawatu Gorge, to tramping in the majestic
Ruahine, or Tararua Ranges. Museums, gardens and arts
& crafts abound, with many cottage industries
to be discovered in the beautiful Pohangina Valley.
The area provides every type of accommodation - top
class hotels, motels, hostels, bed and breakfasts,
home and farmstays. An excellent array of restaurants
and bars to suit all palates are a popular feature
of the city.
hectares (the Council administers an area of
32,594 hectares which includes the communities
of Ashhurst, Aokautere, Whakarongo, Linton and
the Palmerston North urban area.)
(statistics New Zealand estimate, 1998)
Palmerston North has a relatively young age profile
that reflects, among other things, the City�s important
tertiary education, and training and military sectors.
However, like elsewhere in New Zealand, the City�s
population is gradually aging as the proportion of
people in the older age groups increases.
Palmerston North�s ethnic profile is different to
that of New Zealand as a whole. European:
Pacific Island: 2%
Palmerston North�s Average Income in 1996:
$42,160 People per Household
The average number of people per household in 1996
Palmerston North's average mean daily maximum temperature
ranges from 22 degrees celsius in February (14 deg.
cel. overnight minimum) to 12 degrees celcius in July
(2 deg. cel. overnight minimum).
Palmerston North averages 20 days per year above 25
There are on average 200 rain-free days.
Rain actually only falls 5% of the time.
The average rainfall is 960mm.
July has the highest average rainfall of 97mm while
the lowest is measured in February at 60mm. Fog is
a rarity and hence the Palmerston North Airport is
open 99.5% of the year which is more than any other
airport in the country. The prevailing wind is a westerly
breeze and in spring can be stronger, but rarely reaches
History of Palmerston North
When the Borough Council came into existence in 1877,
Palmerston North was an isolated village, set in the
midst of a native forest which covered inland Manawatu.
The population of the town was approximately 800 people
and sawmilling was the main industry of the district.
was the first priority for the new Council. The town
had 28 miles of street, but only 6 were formed and
metalled - the other 21 were identified only by survey
pegs in the forest. The Council raised a loan of £10,000
in 1878 and spent most of this money on clearing the
road lines, and forming and metalling the streets.
the forest around Palmerston North was cleared and
farms were established, the borough grew in prosperity.
By 1885 the Council was brave enough to raise a public
works loan of £50,000 and used this money to
provide a public water supply (1889), a primitive
sewage disposal system (1890) and further improvements
to streets and stormwater drainage.
1902, when the borough celebrated its 25th anniversary,
the population had reached 7,000 people, and Palmerston
North was a rapidly growing agricultural service centre,
set in the midst of a prosperous agricultural district.
During the next 30 years a massive upgrading of civic
facilities took place. All major streets were re-built,
a new water supply and sewage system was constructed
(1905-07), a public library was opened (1900), an
opera house was built (1905) and a series of parks
and reserves established throughout the borough. The
Council also became involved with trading activities,
purchasing the local gas works in 1915, the local
abattoir in 1917, and establishing a bus service in
1921. An electric power station was also erected in
1924 and generated sufficient electricity to meet
the needs of the borough for some years.
1930 the population reached 20,000 and city status
was bestowed by the Governor General, but during the
next two decades the development of the city was restricted
by the economic depression of the 1930s and the World
War of the 1940s. The only major projects undertaken
by the Council during this period were the construction
of a new bridge across the river at the end of Fitzherbert
Avenue (1935) and the establishment of the airport
at Milson (1936).
the war a tremendous period of growth took place,
with the population rising from 25,000 in 1945 to
58,000 in 1977. The city expanded its boundaries in
1949, 1953, 1961 and 1967 and the Council undertook
another massive upgrading of the civic amenities.
All the principal streets were reconstructed, a new
dam and water treatment plant was built (1953-56)
and the old septic tanks were replaced by a new sewage
treatment plant (1968). The Airport was provided with
a sealed runway in 1958 and natural gas was introduced
and cultural facilities were also expanded during
this period. Playgrounds and community halls were
established in new suburbs, the Opera House was upgraded
(1955), an art gallery was established (1959), a new
Library building was erected (1965), the Lido swimming
centre was built (1966) and a museum was opened (1971).
the Government removed the railway station and railway
yards from the centre of the city (1964-66), the Council
developed a complex of civic buildings on the old
railway land. The first of these was the Art Gallery
(1977), followed by the Civic Administration Building
and Council Chamber (1979) and the Globe Theatre (1982).
A portion of the old railway land was also utilised
for the construction of a new Fire Station, but the
remainder of the land has been retained as a green,
open space in the heart of the City.
the 1980�s the Council also developed the old agricultural
and pastoral Showgrounds into a major recreational
asset for the region, with the largest improvements
being the Manawatu Sports Stadium (1981) and the grandstand
part of a nation-wide reorganisation of local government,
a new Palmerston North City Council was constituted
on 1 November 1989. The boundaries of the City were
extended to include Ashhurst, Whakarongo, Aokautere,
Linton and some adjacent rural areas previously administered
by the Kairanga and Oroua counties. The size of the
Council was increased to 16 elected members (15 Councillors
and 1 Mayor), and the City was divided into 6 wards
for electoral purposes.
a result of new legislation, the Council established
Local Authority Trading Enterprises (LATEs) (limited
liability companies) to carry out its gas, electricity
and bus services, but market competition subsequently
resulted in the closing down of the bus service (1991),
the sale of gas undertaking (1994) and the merger
of the electricity business with a neighbouring company
(1997). The Airport was also transferred to the control
of a Council-owned company, which completed a new
terminal building in 1992 and developed facilities
for an international air service to Australia in 1996.
major projects completed in recent years include the
roading �flyover� at the intersection of Summerhill
Drive and Tennent Drive (1993), a new Science Centre
and Manawatu Museum (1994), a new Library building
(1996), improvements to the small dam at the Turitea
waterworks (1996), the restoration of the Regent Theatre
(1998) and the building of the community swimming
pool at Freyberg High School (1998).
The subdivision of this area began in 1866, when a
township was laid out by J.T. Stewart, an employee
of the Wellington Provincial Government. Mr Stewart's
plan consisted of a series of wide and straight streets,
laid out in a rectangular pattern, with the focal
point for the new settlement taking the form of an
open space of 17 acres, subsequently known as The
original name of this township was "Palmerston",
bestowed in honour of the Third Viscount Palmerston
(Henry John Temple), a former Prime Minister of Great
Britain. The suffix "North� was added in 1871
by the Post Office, in order to distinguish the settlement
from its namesake in the South Island.
Maori translation of Palmerston North is "Pamutana".