News, Events and Culture


Te Marae-O-Hine; recycling; international flights from Palmerston North Airport, new central library in the the DIC building and the first woman mayor.



  • Steven Maharey elected as MP for Palmerston North
  • Mohair Fashion Awards hosted in Palmerston North
  • Te Marae-O-Hine - paved courtyard 'Marae' in The Square opened as part of City celebrations for New Zealand sesqui-centenary
  • Palmerston North Passenger Services Ltd, the Council's bus company, is established
  • PDC - Premier Department Store on The Square closes
  • Farmers Mutual building on The Square opens, it is the tallest building in Palmerston North (2008)
  • Downtown complex's first 10 shops open
  • PDC building on The Square demolished
  • Downtown complex final stage is completed with the opening of Downtown Cinema 6 (now Downtown Cinemas)


  • Population 70,318
  • Recycling services initiated by the City Council
  • A failure of the water main supplying the water treatment plant causes the entire lower dam reservoir to empty; the City is forced to rely on artesian wells while repairs are made
  • End of Palmerston North Passenger Services Ltd after it fails to obtain Manawatū Regional Council's contract for City bus service, the contract goes to the Manawatū Regional Council
  • Arohanui Hospice in Heretaunga Street officially opened by Mayor Paul Rieger
  • The Plaza shopping centre opens with K-Mart, Foodtown and specialty shops all in one complex
  • Arthur Barnett Department Store on The Square closes


  • New Terminal Building opened at City Airport, $3 departure tax levied on all departing passengers
  • Pro Gas Systems Ltd established (Council's gas company)
  • Flooding
  • Electro Power Ltd established (Council's electricity distribution company)
  • Manawatū Mills changes name to Champion Flourmills


  • Major staffing restructure of the City Council
  • Summerhill Drive / Tennant Drive flyover is completed, easing traffic congestion to Massey University at peak times
  • Massey University opens the Albany Campus in Auckland
  • Totaranui settlers cottage is relocated to Manawatū Museum and Science Centre (now Te Manawa)


  • First International Festival in The Square is held
  • 'Polytechnic-in-the-Park' proposal fails; the Manawatū Polytechnic offers its first degree course
  • Broadway Avenue streetscape upgrade completed
  • Pro Gas Systems Ltd (Council's gas company) sold to Enerco New Zealand for $34 million
  • Te Awe Awe Complex opens - new Science Centre and Manawatū Museum building


  • George Street streetscape upgrade complete
  • K&M Print moves to upper Cuba Street
  • Ansett Dash 8 Flight 703 crashes in the Tararua Ranges, four fatalities


  • Population 73,080
  • Coleman Place streetscape upgrade complete
  • Electro Power Ltd and CentralPower Ltd merge ($70 million)
  • Tui Milk Products and Kiwi Co-Operative Dairies merge
  • International flights commence from City Airport (scheduled passenger services to Australia)
  • Downtown Cinema 7 becomes Downtown Cinema 8, (now Downtown Cinemas)
  • Improvements to the smaller lower dam at Turitea waterworks start
  • A Massey University graduation ceremony is the last function held at the Opera House
  • Demolition of the Palmerston North Opera House on Church Street
  • City Library opens new $16.9 million Central Library Building in reworked Rossco / DIC building on The Square


  • Plane trees in Fitzherbert Avenue felled by City Council after considerable public protest locally and nationally, Fitzherbert Avenue converted to four lanes
  • Centennial celebrations of Victoria Esplanade
  • Fire Service reopens a station in Terrace End
  • Massey University merges with the Palmerston North College of Education (Teachers College)
  • Two years of modifications to the old lower dam are opened by Mayor Paul Reiger, the dam is now a "concrete faced rock-fill structure" and increases the height by 3 metres


  • The Council commissions a 6000 m 3 water reservoir at Ngahere Park, alongside the existing one, a 66% increase in water storage capacity
  • Jacqueline Jill White (Jill) is the first woman Mayor for Palmerston North
  • Freyberg swimming pool opens as a community pool at the Freyberg High School
  • Regent Theatre opens as premiere City Theatre after extensive ($13 million) renovation work, it replaces the former City Opera House


  • Vision Manawatū established
  • Peacekeeping troops sent to East Timor
  • Youth Justice Centre opens in Mohaka Place
  • Manawatū Polytechnic opens new Central Campus in King Street
  • King Street streetscape upgrade complete
  • Wellington Polytechnic merges with Massey University
  • Automation of the Turitea water treatment plant complete
  • The Manawatū Polytechnic becomes UCOL (the Universal College of Learning)
  • Central Power's Tararua Windfarm opened by Wyatt Creech, regulations force Central Power to sell the wind farm
  • Adidas Institute of Rugby opened at Massey University by PM Jenny Shipley
  • Commissioning of the Keith Street artesian bore provides a 24% increase in source capacity for the City's water supply
23-24 October
  • PDC (Premier Drapery Company) staff reunion held

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.