Palmerston North (/ˌpɑːmərstənˈnɔːrθ/ (Māori: Te Papa-i-Oea) is a city located in the Manawatu-Whanganui region of the North Island of New Zealand, commonly referred to as Palmerston, or Palmy by locals.
Palmerston North is located inland, in the eastern Manawatu Plains, near the north bank of the Manawatu River. The city is 35 km (22 mi) from the river's mouth and 12 km (7 mi) from the end of the Manawatu Gorge. It is about 140 km (87 mi) north of the capital, Wellington.
The official limits of the city take in rural areas to the south, north-east, north-west and west of the main urban area, extending to the Tararua Ranges; including the town of Ashhurst at the mouth of the Manawatu Gorge, the villages of Bunnythorpe and Longburn in the north and west respectively. The city covers a land area of 395 square kilometres (98,000 acres).
The city's location was once little more than a clearing in a forest and occupied by small communities of indigenous Māori, who called it Papa-i-Oea sometimes spelt Papaioea, believed to mean "How beautiful it is".
In the mid 19th century, it was discovered and settled by Europeans (mostly of British and Scandinavian origin).
On foundation, the settlement was bestowed the name Palmerston, in honour of Viscount Palmerston, a former Prime Minister of Great Britain. The suffix "North" was added in 1871 by the Post Office to distinguish the settlement from Palmerston in the South Island. The Māori transliteration of Palmerston North, is Pamutana (Nota). However, Te Papaioea is the preferred Māori name.
Palmerston North is the country's seventh-largest city and eighth largest urban area, with an urban population of 84,300 (June 2016)