News, Events and Culture


20,000 residents at the start of the decade, making Palmerston North the 7th city in New Zealand; a depression; an earthquake, a cyclone and the first MP for Palmerston North.


  • Population 20,000
  • Government subsidised work schemes for the unemployed commence in City
  • Artesian bore sunk in Heretaunga Street to supplement water supply
  • Regent Theatre opens
  • Palmerston North Gazetted as the 7th City in New Zealand, population had reached 20,000
17-22 Nov
  • Informal celebrations of Palmerston North's new City status
  • Golden (50th ) Jubilee of Manawatū Standard Newspaper, special issue published


  • Augustus Edward Mansford elected Mayor
  • Leader & Watt, a local electrical contractor & retailer, is founded in a garage at 8 Carroll Street
  • Palmerston North Unemployed Workers Movement formed in City to protest Government's handling of unemployment
  • Hawkes Bay earthquake, homeless refugees from Napier evacuated to Palmerston North, damage to buildings in City
  • Second Radio Station opens, 2ZO, a privately owned station
  • Massey Agricultural College Main Science Building officially opened
  • Milson Aerodrome opens, a privately owned airfield used by the Manawatu Aero Club, celebrated with an air pageant


  • Additional artesian bore sunk in Heretaunga Street adjacent to the first to further supplement water supply
  • June-September Economic Depression at its worst in Palmerston North with over 1500 males registered as unemployed (about 14% of the labour force)


  • Fitzherbert Bridge over the Manawatu River (the second bridge) construction commences
  • Charles Kingsford Smith brings the Southern Cross aircraft to Palmerston North after a second Trans Tasman flight, the aircraft was damaged while taxiing on the Milson runway
  • The State Theatre opens (cinema)


  • YWCA Queen Street Hostel is abandoned
  • Demonstrations by unemployed over sustenance levels and work camps, Prime Minister Forbes addresses a restless crowd in The Square
  • London to Melbourne Air Race (20-28 October), Manawatu Aero Club enter an aircraft named 'Manawatu' piloted by McGregor and Walker


  • Joseph Hodgens elected as MP for Palmerston North
  • Manawatu Co-operative Society Ltd is founded, later 'Consumers Co-operative Society (Manawatu) Ltd', one of the regions largest retailers, also known as the Co-Op
  • Second Fitzherbert Bridge over the Manawatu River opens, replacing the now rotting wooden first bridge, opened by Governor General Lord Galway
  • Manawatu Co-operative Society opens their first shop, a grocery store on Broadway
  • Labour Party wins Palmerston North seat in the general election, Joe Hodgens is the first Labour MP for the City


  • Population 22,202
  • Terrace End Fire substation is sold
  • The Palace becomes The Mayfair (cinema)
  • Union Airways Ltd opens first commercial air service for Palmerston North to Dunedin
  • Cyclone hits Manawatu, "The Big Gale" causes considerable damage to buildings and one person is killed
  • A third artesian bore is sunk to supplement the water supply, this one is in Vogel Street


  • The Meteor Theatre opens (cinema)
  • Milson Aerodrome is purchased by City Council


  • Savage Crescent state housing precinct commences, this was a 'garden suburb' subdivision by the Labour Government and is now recognised as a heritage area
  • The Art Deco T&G Building is constructed in Broadway Avenue, in 1938 this was the tallest building in the City and at £46,000 the most expensive building erected in the City at the time
  • Fitzroy Park opens in the former New Zealand Railways gravel pit on Main Street (later renamed Memorial Park)
  • Radio Station 2ZA opens, a Government owned commercial station; two privately owned stations are forced to close down
  • Public Library establishes free service for City users with the abolition of membership subscriptions


  • Population 23400
  • The two cannons that had been present in The Square were removed during beautification of the gardens; the cannons were originally part of the Wellington Harbour's coastal defences
  • World War Two declared

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.