NZ Manawatu Information
Manawatu is part
of four districts that together make up the verdant
Manawatu - Wanganui region. On the southwest side of the North Island,
Manawatu is centrally located between Hawkes Bay,
Wairarapa, Rangitikei and Horowhenua. It is strategically placed to access all
four regions, and the second largest region on the North Island.
The land is lush
and is an important agricultural plain for New Zealand. Early explorers found
dense forest that they quickly used as a source of timber. In the early 1900’s,
however, the need to conserve the natural resources of the land became apparent
to authorities who took steps to preserve the area. Since then, the Manawatu
plains have led in the production of sheep, deer and beer. An interesting note
about the population of the area, due to the three military bases in the region,
the region has the largest proportional number of people serving in the armed
is one of Matawatu’s main urban centers. Since Manawatu is largely
agricultural, Palmerston North mainly provides services to the country
surrounding it. However, as time moves on, Palmerston North provides the best
of both worlds, with the amenities of the city and the charm of the country.
The Te Manawa museum and gallery in Palmerston North
is dedicated to preserving the history of the region and has permanent exhibits
about the Maori, the pacific, natural history, social history and science &
technology. The Gallery collects and exhibits the works of New Zealand artists
who are identified with the development of art in New Zealand.
The town of
Feilding is the main town in Manawatu. It was named for Colonel William Felding,
who founded the town and ran the first general store. Essentially, the fertile
area remains largely agricultural, relying on Feilding to provide services for
most of the district. The peaceful town has neither traffic lights nor parking
meters and has received New Zealand’s most beautiful town award twelve
consecutive times. Since 1993 there has been an effort to encourage the
restoration of the late Victorian and Edwardian homes that helps to preserve the
heritage of the town. The soft country feel of the area is heightened by the
charming Bed and Breakfasts and garden retreats. It is an atmosphere that
encourages taking advantage of the decorative gardens and scenic trips on hand.
visitors to the area to participate in rural life. While tasks vary, the
notably hospitable people of the interest are always willing to share a little
of their time and reputedly excellent country cooking. Tiny towns like Sanson
and Bulls are filled with cafes, craft shops, and antique stores that primarily
serve those passing the town using the state highways.
For a breathtaking
view, take the public trail into the Manawatu gorge or travel along the
Whanganui River, the longest navigable river in New Zealand, with a canoe
safari. The inexperienced can take a course before kayaking along the Manawatu
River while the more experience (and certified) can take a trip all the way to
Cape Kidnappers for a breathtaking view of the surrounding cliffs and a look at
the nesting gannets that deck the cape.