Palmerston North

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Quick Facts About Palmerston North

MasseyU2Founded: 1866
Population: 78,100
Mayor: Jono Naylor

Palmerston North is New Zealand’s 6th largest city and 2/3 of New Zealand’s population lives within 400 km of the city.


Missoula & Palmerston North

Palmerston North, located on the south end of New Zealand’s North Island, resembles its Sister City of Missoula in many respects. Of about equal size, and founded in the same year, it is home to Massey University and prides itself on being “The Information Center.” Abundant recreation and cultural amenties are other shared characteristics.

The Sister City relationship began when a Missoula resident Harold Bockemuehl obtained his doctorate at Massey University and shared his admiration of his host city when he returned to the University of Montana. In addition to academic exchanges between the two universities there have been many other contacts since that beginning in 1981. A choral group came to Missoula for the International Chorale Festival. Recently the New Zealand Consul General visited Missoula to discuss more cultural and commercial connections.

New Zealand Day, a celebration of our sister city partnership, is celebrated each May.

About Palmerston North

Situated on the banks of the Manawatu River nestled at the foot of the impressive Tararua Mountain Range, a growing city of 78,100, Palmerston North is unique. 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 establishment of Educational and New Research Institutes has broadened the City’s economic base. The city hosts an impressive range of educational institutions. Local primary and secondary schools have a proud tradition of academic, sporting and cultural achievement. The home campus of Massey university provides an enormous number of courses and supports research in many fields. UCOL is the leading regional polytechnic in New Zealand. Other institutions such as International Pacific College and Te Wananga O Aotearoa also welcome students from around the region and around the world.

Shopping 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 city’s magnificent ‘Regent on Broadway’ make Palmerston North a popular destination for enthusiasts of the screen and stage.

The 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.

Palmerston 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. Air New Zealand operates first class trunk services to all New Zealand’s major cities. A considerable number of commuter aircraft also serve the City, including Mount Cook Airlines, Air Nelson, and Eagle Airways.

By 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 splendour of the Wairarapa.

Mother 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.