Palmerston North, halfway between Wellington and Rotorua, is the southern heart of the North Island. This sophisticated, provincial city lies in the breath taking Manawatu region that sweeps from the Ruahine and Tararua mountain ranges, through the magnificent Manawatu Gorge and scenic Pohangina Valley, along Manawatu River to the coastal plains of Tangimoana and Himatangi. Palmerston North thrives with a youthful energy. It’s a lively university town teeming with spirited students and sporting enthusiasts. Its wide range of educational facilities, including a leading university, polytechnic, Rugby Institute and a number of other specialized tertiary education institutes has bestowed a distinctly youthful edge upon the city. The city is also home to the famed Arena Manawatu’s FMG stadium, (which has hosted two World Cup rugby matches), and it boasts premiere teams in rugby, cricket, basketball, hockey and football. Progressive Palmerston North is partly powered by two major wind farms and has taken a proactive stance on cleaning up and protecting the Manawatū River. This is symptomatic of its strength in smart business research, which has become a key local economy driver, along with its burgeoning biotech, hi-tech and defence sectors. What is special or unique about your city? Located on the banks of the Manawatu River and nestled at the foot of the Tararua Mountain Range, Palmerston North is New Zealand's sixth largest city. A growing city of 78,000, Palmerston North is a vibrant, youthful city. Locally known as "The Knowledge City," it has several tertiary educational organizations; the largest is Massey University. It also hosts a number of annual national and international shows and events. Most locals and newcomers feel that living in Palmerston North is like having the best of both worlds because it has the conveniences and technology of big-city life as well as the quality and ease of small-town living. By road, Palmerston North is a seven-hour drive from Auckland and a two-hour drive from the capital, Wellington. The city's central location also places it within a couple of hours of wineries, the North Islands Central Plateau ski fields, Mount Taranaki, historical Maori sites of the Taranaki region, as well as the rural splendour of the Wairarapa. Palmerston North has limited congestion, no air pollution and is very family friendly which makes it a great city in which to live. What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city? Most newcomers are impressed by the flatness of the land, the very wide streets and by the greenery. Most streets have gorgeous trees planted along the length of the entire street, making for a very beautiful sight. People are drawn to the heart of the city, a big, open area known as "The Square." The city is a very easy place to find your way around, which alleviates the normal big-city stress. Are these impressions likely to change? Palmerston North has a growing population. The city is a well-planned city, it has been designed to grow by building new areas on the outskirts, avoiding any impact to the heart of the city and allowing Palmerston North to keep its easy-flowing nature. The relaxed lifestyle and great climate is contagious and most people that visit find that they want to stay.