News, Events and Culture


Rainbow Statium and Square Edge open; the Springbok tour; fire at the showgrounds and opening of The Plaza.

Square Edge: Creative Centre

Square Edge: Creative Centre


  • Marae established at College of Education
  • $5 million Post Office telephone exchange (Telecom Tower) opened on Main Street
  • Convention Centre 3rd and final stage opened


  • Population 60,105
  • Trevor Albert de Cleene elected as MP for Palmerston North
  • Square Edge community arts centre opens in the restored Council administration buildings on corner of The Square & Church Street
  • Sports Stadium ('Rainbow Stadium') opened at Showgrounds by HRH Prince Charles
  • Springboks versus Manawatū rugby game played, 15 minute stand off with protesters in Cuba Street ends peacefully & the game goes ahead; City Council fails to stop the match with a court injunction; 1000 police are brought to the City - 20% of the nations forces


  • Globe Theatre opens
  • Marae established at St Michaels Anglican Church


  • Caccia Birch House gifted to PNCC by the Government
  • Palmerston North Technical School becomes the Manawatū Polytechnic
  • 83 year old Showgrounds grandstand destroyed by fire
  • John Boldt Indoor Swimming Pool ($1.2m) opened at the Lido by Mayor Brian Elwood
  • State Insurance building opens on Rangitīkei Street, tallest building in the City at the time




  • Paul Warren Reiger elected Mayor
  • Work starts on the Downtown shopping mall and cinema complex on Broadway Avenue
  • First Foodtown supermarket opens in City


  • Population 60,503
  • An artesian bore is sunk on Roberts Line to supplement the water supply for the Kelvin Grove suburb
  • Around this time K&M Print moves to Andrew Young Street
  • PDC Plaza shopping centre opened by PM David Lange
  • New Showgrounds Grandstand opened by the Governor General Sir Paul Reeves
6-9 November
  • A&P Association (Local Branch) celebrates their Centenary and hosts the Royal Show


  • Longburn Freezing Works closes after a long running industrial dispute with the loss of 100s of jobs
  • Third Fitzherbert Bridge over Manawatū River opened, this is the bridge in use today
  • Whānau Resource Centre opened in Highbury
  • Sharemarket Crash


  • School of Maori Studies starts at Massey University
  • New Zealand Insurance (NZI) building opens on The Square
24-27 July
  • Flooding causes a state of emergency to be declared after 24 hours rain, 1200 evacuated from SW area of City, $2-3 million in damages
  • PDC Consumers Co-Op is wound up after going into receivership in February


  • Original 1889 Post Office building moved to the Victoria Esplanade where it is now used as a Café (2008)
  • LATEs (Local Authority Trading Enterprises) established by Council to carry out bus, gas and electricity services
  • Palmerston North Cosmopolitan Club moves to new premises in Pitt Street, women first become members
  • Trust Board formed for Caccia Birch House and renovation begins
  • 1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment relocates from Singapore to Linton Camp
  • Glaxo pharmaceutical factory opens on Botanical Road

Most dates are taken from tertiary sources and accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Researchers are strongly advised to check specific dates in other sources to confirm accuracy to their own satisfaction. All corrections or additional information and dates gratefully considered - please contact the Ian Matheson City Archives.