News, Events and Culture


New library and Borough Council buildings, a new King, 25th Jubilee celebrations and the population reaches 10,000.

James Alfred Nash opening the lakelet in The Square

James Alfred Nash opening the lakelet in The Square


  • By this time fire hydrants have been installed around The Square and other town areas
5 September 
  • Public Library re-established and opened in the former Colonial Bank Building
10 November
  • The first performance of the newly established Palmerston North Operatic Society - Pirates of Penzance


  • Population 6,534 (excludes Māori)
  • George Matthew Snelson elected Mayor
22 January 
  • Queen Victoria dies after a record 64 year reign; She is commemorated in Palmerston North by Victoria Avenue and Victoria Esplanade
31 October 
  • Death of Palmerston North Mayor George Snelson during his 7th term
  • William Thomas Wood elected Mayor


  • Population 7000
  • William Thomas Wood elected as MP for Palmerston North
  • Palmerston North Technical School opens
  • Major flood of the Manawatū River
  • Mr Alfred Andrews founds the cabinet making firm of Andrews & Sons on Rangitīkei Street, still in operation in 2014 in the same place as 'Peter Andrews Furnishers'
  • Carncot School founded by Miss Constance Stanford
17 February 
  • Palmerston North High School established (later split into Palmerston North Boys' High School and Palmerston North Girls' High School), the first public secondary school
31 May
  • Boer War concludes
11 August
  • Coronation celebrations for King Edward VII and 25th Jubilee Celebrations of the Borough of Palmerston  North
  • King Edward VII Memorial Fountain unveiled in the middle of The Square - celebrates the coronation of King Edward VII and the incorporation of the Borough of Palmerston North
22 August
  • First motor car arrives in Palmerston North


  • Charles Dunk elected Mayor
  • A larger fire substation is built at Terrace End replacing the one built in 1890
1 July
  • Evening Standard newspaper purchased by Nash & Coombe
26 December 
  • Opening of Awapuni Racecourse sees a crowd of around 10,000 people


  • Edward Orr Hurley elected Mayor
  • A second larger dam is built at Turitea to increase the water supply
  • Palmerston North Beautifying Society is formed by local citizens to beautify The Square
  • Palmerston North Working Men's Club opens their own building
  • George Bernard Shaw visits Palmerston North on his tour of New Zealand
  • St. Joseph's Convent High School opens
  • St. Patrick's Parish School opens
  • 'New' Railway Hotel built on the corner of Main and David Streets.
3 August
  • Beautifying Society plants first shrub in The Square


  • Population 9,795
  • Maurice Cohen elected Mayor
13 May 
  • Opening of septic tanks & filters at Awapuni, previously sewerage was discharged untreated into the Manawatū River
  • Borough Council occupies the Municipal Building on the corner of The Square and Church Street West
  • The Public Library swaps with the Council and now occupies the Municipal Offices in Main Street (opposite the Post Office)
12 July
  • Opening of the Palmerston North Opera House by Mayor Maurice Cohen
14 July 
  • The first show is held at the new Opera House - a charitable concert by the Palmerston North Orchestral Society


  • Population 10,239 (excludes Māori)
  • Abattoir at Awapuni opens
5 February 
  • New Post Office building on the corner of Main Street and The Square is opened by Prime Minister and postmaster-general Sir Joseph Ward. The building still stands but is no longer used as a post office, however the original clock tower has been removed (1942) and the clock and chimes placed in the Clock Tower in the Square (1956)
  • Construction of a new 7 metre dam just downstream of the original weir starts


  • Richard Essex elected Mayor
  • Kairanga Co-Operative Dairy Company factory at Longburn opens
  • Miranui Flaxmill at Makerua opens
26 January 
  • Statue of Te Peeti Te Awe Awe officially unveiled in The Square. The statue commemorates a chief of the Rangitāne tribe and a significant figure in early Manawatū history
19 August 
  • Construction of the first (lower) dam on the Turitea Stream is completed & Mayor Cohen turns on the new water


  • James Alfred Nash elected Mayor
  • David Buick elected as MP for Palmerston North
  • First Palmerston North Plunket Society begins and appoints Nurse Henderson as the first Plunket Nurse
  • Marist Brothers High School opens (Catholic)
18-19 June 
  • Governor General Lord Plunket takes up temporary residence (till 1910) in Palmerston North in Te Awe Awe Street in the property now known as Caccia Birch House
6 November 
  • Opening of Main Trunk Railway Line between Wellington and Auckland; this line resulted in Palmerston North becoming the major railway centre in the lower North Island


 March 2 
  • Stage one of the Lower Turitea Dam is officially opened by Mayor J A Nash, the dam has a capacity of 4,500 m3 of water
29 September 
  • Technical School building opens on corner of Princess and King Streets, formerly operating in Cuba Street; this two-storey brick building is preserved as part of the Central City UCOL campus
 27 October
  • Lakelet in The Square opened, sometimes known as the butterfly lake due to the shape




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.