Palmerston North – a real 'Kiwi' student city
Often referred to as ‘Palmy’, Palmerston North is a great destination for students wanting to experience the ‘Kiwi’ way of life.
It is a safe, friendly, and well-connected city – only a couple of hours drive, or bus, from New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington.
“…explore excellent mountain biking and lush walking tracks beyond the city and great coffee, beer and friendly locals within.” - Lonely Planet Guides
Why Palmerston North?
Located in the Manawatu region, in the lower North Island, Palmerston North is surrounded by beautiful farmland with some great things you can do outdoors.
It’s an especially great place for young people with a high proportion of students (the average age in the city is 33 which is below the national average) and the city describes itself as ‘a true student city’. What does that mean? Well for one thing, buses are free for all students throughout the city which means that getting around is not a problem.
Additionally, international students can enjoy a safe and relaxed atmosphere in Palmerston North. Each year international students choose Palmerston North for a variety of reasons - around 3000 international students study and live in the area.
Almost 20% of the local population was not born in New Zealand, making it a Kiwi city with an international perspective. This is celebrated in their annual week-long Festival of Cultures which showcases cultural diversity and includes the World, Food, Craft and Music Fair.
Weather-wise it is a reasonably pleasant place to live all year round with average daily temperatures of 22 °C (72 °F) in summer and 12 °C (54 °F) in winter.
Quality study options
There are good quality schools at all levels and seven secondary schools within Palmerston North, including co-educational and single-sex schools, with some offering both day student and boarding options.
It is home to Massey University which is ranked in the top 3% in the world by QS, and offers a wide range of degrees from aviation, agriculture and veterinary science through to business and IT. Other tertiary study providers include UCOL and IPU which mean there are plenty of study options to choose from.
The city as a whole is very well educated with almost 2% of the population holding a PhD, the highest percentage in New Zealand and well above the national average of 0.6%.
Fun things to do
There are plenty of great activities to do in Palmerston North and around the Manawatu region.
For ideas and inspiration check out:
- Trip Advisor’s top things to do in Palmerston North
- The Great Outdoors - Palmerston North City & Manawatu
- Palmerston North City’s guide to things to see and do in the region
- Free and cheap things to do in Palmerston North from the backpacker guide
- Tourism New Zealand’s guide to activities in the Manawatu region
If you’re looking for a city, but without the crowds of the major centres, then Palmerston North is the place for you. It is an ideal place for international students to experience a taste of the real New Zealand way of life.
Explore the Manawatu region
Photo credits: ManawatuNZ.co.nz
About the contributors
Julian Rosser is an International Marketing Executive for Massey University. He has spent time living abroad in both the United Kingdom and Japan. You can often find him hiking mountains all over the world.