Influence of Palmerston North
The appearance of these affiliated manufacturing plants in the villages around Palmerston North is illustrative of a recent trend associated with the motorisation of society, a trend which, once again, emphasises the distinction between the Manawatu and Horowhenua. As a commercial, industrial, and transport centre, and with the establishment of a university which absorbed the Massey Agricultural College, as an educational and cultural centre, Palmerston North is becoming the focus of the Manawatu, and indeed its expansion as a commercial centre is the principal reason for the stagnation of commercial life in the many townships of the surrounding districts. The increasing daily flow of commuters from Feilding, Bunnythorpe, and Ashhurst is a sign of its expanding influence. The development of Himatangi as a weekend beach settlement is a reflection of the city dwellers' need for recreation. Because of its strategic position on the Main Trunk and in relation to the Manawatu Gorge, Palmerston North is extending its influence beyond the immediate region over a much wider zone. Population figures bear out the increasing significance of the city in regional and national affairs. In 1911 Palmerston North ranked tenth amongst the urban areas of New Zealand; in 1961 it ranked seventh. Outside of the four main centres it is second only to Hamilton.