|Name||Palmerston North City|
|Extent||north to Cloverlea and airport;
to Tararua Ranges; south to Linton
|See also||Manawatu District|
The original name of the city 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 to distinguish the settlement from Palmerston in the South Island. Locals frequently refer to the city simply as "Palmy".
The city centre is situated about 140 km north of the capital, Wellington, in the north-east sector of the Manawatu Plains, and near the northern bank of the Manawatu River. It is 35 km from the river's mouth and 12 km from the end of the Manawatu Gorge. Template:Coor d
The city is a major 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.
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 1964-66.
Palmerston North's average mean daily maximum temperatures range from 12°C in winter to 22°C in summer. Average annual rainfall is 960 mm. There is a lot of wind, especially in spring. It currently has the largest electricity-generating wind farm in the southern hemisphere, with 158 turbines on the nearby Tararua and Ruahine ranges providing power for 90,000 homes.
The city's main streets are arranged in a grid around The Square, a park at the centre of the city. This park contains the city's war memorial, a clock tower, and some of the unusual public statues for which the city is known. The municipal offices extend across part of it from the south-west side.
State Highway 3 enters the city from the northwest as Rangitikei Street before turning to the north-east to become 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 West, including UCOL (Universal College of Learning) and Arena Manawatu (the large complex of stadiums and sports grounds west of the city centre).
Fitzherbert Avenue extends south-east, crossing Fitzherbert Bridge - the only bridge over the Manawatu River close to the city - to reach Massey University. The university, currently the most dominant developed part of the city to the south of the river, is almost a separate urban area in its own right.
The city's suburbs extend away from The Square. These include (clockwise from the north) Papaioea (its name a variant of the original Māori name for the area), Milson, Kelvin Grove, Brightwater, Hokowhitu, Te Awe Awe (regarded as part of Hokowhitu on some maps), West End, Awapuni, Highbury, Takaro and Cloverlea. Palmerston North International Airport is north of the city centre, across the railway line in Milson.
The official limits of the city also take in rural areas to the south and northeast of the main urban area, extending to the Tararua Ranges and including the town of Ashhurst at the mouth of the Manawatu Gorge. This area is a rich and fertile agricultural area. The city as a whole covers some 350 km2.
The original subdivision of Palmerston North was made in 1866, in a natural clearing in the Papaioea Forest. As the settlement grew, the forest diminished to make way for farms, and today virtually no remnants of it survive.
The first settlers were largely Scandinavian. By 1877 the town had a population of around 1200. The arrival of the railway in 1886 saw an increase in the speed of growth, and by 1900 the population was 6000. By this time the town was at the centre of a lucrative agricultural district.
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, because of 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.
- Palmerston North City Council
- Palmerston North, Manawatu - Manawatu.com
- The Square - News and issues around Palmerston North
- Wikitravel Palmerston North page
- Interactive Street Map and Church locations in Palmerston North
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