Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Palmerston North (Māori: Te Papa-i-oea) is the main city of the Manawatu-Wanganui region of the North Island of New Zealand. It is an inland city with a population of approximately 75,800 , Palmerston North is currently the eleventh largest city in the country, and the centre of the seventh largest urban area. A large proportion of its population consists of students attending Massey University, Universal College of Learning (UCOL) and International Pacific College during the student year.
The city was first named "Palmerston" in honour of Viscount Palmerston, a former Prime Minister of Great Britain. However, the suffix "North" was added in 1871 by the Postal Service in order to distinguish the settlement from Palmerston in the South Island. Locals frequently refer to the city simply as "Palmy".
The Māori transliteration of Palmerston North is "Pamutana", however, this is largely unused, with Papa-i-oea being the preferred option, e.g. Te Kura Kōhine o Papaioea (Palmerston North Girls' High School) or Te Hohipera o Papaioea (Palmerston North Hospital). Papa-i-oea is widely believed to mean "How beautiful it is" [1]. The Māori name for the Square is Te Marae o Hine.

The tertiary education sector provides $1 billion dollars a year to the local economy and accounts for 13% of the total Palmerston North workforce. Palmerston North also has economic strengths in research, especially in the bio-industry, defence, distribution, and smart business sectors. The city is home to more than 70 major educational and research institutions, including New Zealand's fastest expanding university, Massey; the Massey University Sport and Recreation Institute (situated at Massey University campus, Turitea); UCOL - Universal College of Learning and Linton Military Camp.
In total, research, educational and government departments employ 43% of the city's workforce. Another quarter of the workforce is employed in the wholesale and retail section that reflects Palmerston North's status as a regional servicing focal point.

The city's main streets are arranged in a grid around The Square, a seven hectare park of lawn, trees, lakes, fountains, and gardens in the centre of the city. This park contains the city's war memorial, a memorial to Te Ataia Awa - a Māori man who was helpful to the early settlers - and a clock tower whose illuminated cross was damaged in a storm in the first half of 2006. The damage to the cross and its subsequent removal rekindled a discussion about the appropriateness of a Christian symbol in the centre of a city whose citizens are of many cultures and religious backgrounds.

The city
There are a number of parks in the city. The foremost is the Victoria Esplanade. Victoria Esplanade is located along the northern bank of the Manawatu River, to the right of Fitzherbert Avenue if heading south. The esplanade includes gardens, children's play areas, an aviary, a mini-train ride, walking tracks, and sports fields (Ongley-Manawaroa Park).
The motto of the city is
The city has used many descriptions in advertising and promotion: Rose City (referring to its international rose trial grounds), Knowledge City (referring to the city's many academic institutions), and "Student City" (for the same reason).
The current slogan, "Young Heart, Easy Living", indicates a laid-back provincial life style. This was created to attract families away from the busier main centers, to a more relaxed approach to living.
English comedian John Cleese referred to the city as the "...suicide capital of New Zealand. If you wish to kill yourself but lack the courage to, I think a visit to Palmerston North will do the trick". There is now a municipal rubbish heap of 45 metres in altitude with an official-looking sign naming it "Mt Cleese". [2] [3]

The City's Parks

Ngāti Rangitāne were the local Māori iwi (tangata whenua) living in the area known as Te Ahu-a-Turanga([4]:1), when a trader, Jack Duff, became the first known European person to explore the area in 1830. He came on a whaling ship, and explored as far inland as the site where Woodville stands today. He later reported his discovery on arrival back to Porirua. Colonel Wakefield heard of the potential the Manawatu had for development and visited in 1840. It was not until 1846, when Charles Hartley, another trader, heard from tangata whenua of a clearing in the forest and he proceeded through the dense bush and forest and discovered it. [5]

Early European Discoveries
The Government surveyed the area in 1866-67. The original subdivision of Palmerston North was also made in 1866, in the natural clearing in the Papaioea Forest (as discovered by Hartley). 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 Square. Mr Stewart is not completely forgotten as there are landmarks named for him, e.g. Stewart Crescent (Palmerston North), Mt Stewart (near Sanson).
The four original streets, which arrive at the Square from the different directions are now Fitzherbert Avenue (from the S), Main Street East, Main Street West and Rangitikei Street. As the settlement grew, the forest diminished to make way for farms, and today virtually no remnant of it survives.

Surveying and subdivision
The first settlers were largely Scandinavian, the most prominent being former Danish Premier and Bishop of the Danish Lutheran Church Ditlev Gothard Monrad after whom Monrad Intermediate School [6] (a local Intermediate School for Years 7 & 8 pupils) was named.

First Settlers
By 1877, when the Borough Council came into existence, 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. The arrival of the railway in 1886 saw an increase in the speed of growth, and by 1900 the population was 6,000. By this time the town was at the centre of a lucrative agricultural district.

Borough status
In 1930, the population reached the 20,000 threshold and Palmerston North was officially proclaimed a city. Development was slow at this period in the city's history, however, due to the great depression and World War II. An airport was established at Milson in 1936. After the war growth was rapid, with the population rising to over 50,000 by the mid 1970s.

From Borough to City
Sport in the Palmerston North area, in general, is predominantly provincial based. Unlike Auckland or Wellington, Palmerston North is more of a provincial city, therefore most sports teams draw their players from around the province, in this case, Manawatu. Most representative teams would have players from Feilding or other neighbouring towns.
NB. The most famous team to have "Palmerston North" in its title was the Palmerston North Jets, but they changed their name to Manawatu earlier in this decade.
The city is the home of the Manawatu Turbos, who play in the Air New Zealand Cup, the main competition in New Zealand Rugby. The home ground is at FMG Stadium. The Ezibuy Manawatu Women's rugby team also plays at FMG Stadium.
FMG Stadium is also the home of the Robertson Holden International Speedway. Palmerston North is host to a Stock Car team known as the Panthers. Notable visitors to an event meeting included golfer Tiger Woods and his New Zealand caddie, Steve Williams, who is known for his love of the Stock Car sport.

Football: YoungHeart Manawatu (men), Central Soccer (women)
Basketball: Manawatu Jets
Rugby League: Central Falcons
Cricket: Manawatu; Central Districts
Hockey: Central Mysticks (formerly Manawatu Emeralds, women)
Hockey: Central Mavericks (men)
Netball: Western (Provincial Championships); Western Flyers (National Bank Cup)
Handball: Massey University Handball Club (earned a 4th place at the 2007 National Tournament in Wellingon) Sports teams
The city is a significant road and rail junction. State Highways 56 and 57 meet State Highway 3 close to the city, with these highways providing the main streets of the city. However, State Highway 1, the North Island's main highway, passes about 25km to the west of Palmerston North.
State Highway 3 enters the city from the northwest as Rangitikei Street before turning left into Grey Street north of the Square. It then turns right into Princess Street and left at Main Street East. On the opposite sides of The Square to these two roads are Main Street West (in the south-west) and Fitzherbert Avenue (to the south-east). These two roads connect with State Highways 56 and 57 respectively. Many of the city's main public buildings are located close to The Square and to Main Street East.
Fitzherbert Avenue extends south, crossing the Fitzherbert Bridge, the only bridge over the Manawatu River close to the city to reach. The other is Fitzherbert East Road in Ashhurst, 14 km away. Massey University and International Pacific College (IPC), as well as some of the newly developed residential areas (Summerhill, Aokautere). The university campus is almost a separate urban area in its own right, containing student accommodation, and many mature trees. IPC provides a park-like campus for its 600 residential students from New Zealand and other parts of Asia as they study for their degrees.
Palmerston North International Airport in the suburb of Milson is placing itself as a major secondary international airport in New Zealand. International and domestic services (the former operated by Freedom Air) operate to a number of international destinations, primarily to Australia.
In addition to domestic destinations, Palmerston North International Airport has direct connections to Sydney and Brisbane. Until recently, direct services to Melbourne and Fiji were available. The airport is open the most days of any New Zealand airport and provides a reliable alternative for aircraft diverted from landing at Wellington, usually the result of fog.
Palmerston North International Airport is the operational base of the Massey University School af Aviation, and by night serves as a busy domestic freight hub.
At Palmerston North, the North Island Main Trunk railway is joined by the Palmerston North-Gisborne Line, which runs through the Manawatu Gorge to Woodville and Hawke's Bay, with a connection to the Wairarapa Line at Woodville. The railway was originally routed through the central Square of the town, but was diverted to the north in 1964 - 1966. There are very few passenger rail services to Palmerston North with only two services using the station: The daily Capital Connection service to and from Wellington, and the Overlander to Auckland or Wellington. This means that a maximum of four trains arrive or leave the station per day.
There is an urban bus service in which 5 town buses and 1 campus bus set off from the main depot on Main Street East at least every half hour. It is run in conjunction between Horizons Regional Council and Masterton-based bus company, Tranzit.
There are also frequent bus services from town to Massey (both Turitea and Hokowhitu Campuses) and IPC Campus.
There is a bus service which travel on specific days to Ashhurst, Feilding and Linton.
The main bus depot for travel between Palmerston North and other cities is located at the intersection of Main and Pitt Sts. The urban bus depot is located by the Square.

On 1 November 1989, New Zealand local government authorities were reorganised. Palmerston North City boundaries were extended to include Ashhurst, Linton and Turitea, through amalgamation of parts of the former Kairanga County, Oroua County and Ashhurst Town Council.
The Council consists of a Mayor and 15 Councillors. The Council, its standing committees, and some sub-committees meet regularly for the purpose of decision-making. Its administrative functions are broken down into seven units; City Future, City Contact, City Corporate, City Enterprises, Community and Commercial Services, City Library and City Networks. Chief executive Paddy Clifford - due to start in October 2007 is responsible for ensuring the effective, efficient and economic management of all the Council's activities.
Palmerston North City Council provides services for rubbish collections, water management, environmental management (e.g. Parks and Reserves) and the general maintenance of the City. Recently the City Council has funded the upgrading of the Square and the Clocktower and has proposed new infrastructure for the city, such as a recreational lake in Aokautere, or a second bridge crossing to ease the traffic which travels over the Fitzherbert Bridge.
The City Council is located in the Civic Administration Building and the Customer Service Centre building which are both on the Square.
The current mayor is Heather Tanguay, who herself was once a councillor representing Papaioea.
Elections for Mayor and local government occur nationwide every three years, with the next election to take place in 2007.
Nominations for the 2007 elections have closed with a full list of candidates available on the Palmerston North City Council website http://www.pncc.govt.nz/Council/Council/Election/Candidates/
For electoral purposes, Palmerston North City is divided into 5 wards since Ashhurst and Fitzherbert wards have now amalgamated. Four of these are urban and one rural.

Palmerston North City Council
Palmerston North has three sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities NZ (SCI):

Flag of the United States Missoula, Montana, United States
Flag of the People's Republic of China Guiyang, People's Republic of China
Flag of the People's Republic of China Kunshan, Jiangsu, People's Republic of China Palmerston North Notable personalities

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