Manawatu District

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Manawatu District
Country: New Zealand
Population: 29,300
(June 2015 estimate)[1]
Main town: Feilding
Other towns: Sanson, Hiwinui, Awahuri, Colyton, Pohangina, Rangiwahia, Kimbolton, Himatangi Beach, Rongotea, Tangimoana, Oroua Downs, Halcombe
Territorial authority
Manawatu Territorial Authority.PNG
Name: Manawatu District
Mayor: Margaret Kouvelis
Deputy Mayor: Matt Bell
Extent: Himatangi Beach northeast to Rangiwahia; Rangitikei River southeast to Ruahine Ranges and south to Palmerston North City and Horowhenua District; east and southeast to Tararua Ranges and Tararua District
Land area: 2,624.115 km² (1,013.176 sq mi)
See also: Palmerston North, Horowhenua
Regional council
Name: Manawatu-Wanganui (Horizons Regional Council)
Regional tourism
Name: Destination Manawatu

The Manawatu District is a local government district in the Manawatu-Wanganui Region in the North Island of New Zealand.

Commonly referred to as "The Manawatu", the district is based on the town of Feilding and includes most of the area between the Manawatu River in the south and the Rangitikei River in the north; stretching from slightly south of the settlement of Himatangi in the south, to just south of Mangaweka in the north; and from the Rangitikei River to the summits of the Ruahine Ranges in the east. The district does not include the area around Foxton, Foxton Beach or the mouth of the Manawatu River. It also excludes the area around the city of Palmerston North (including Ashhurst). The district has an area of 2,624 km².


Manawatu is said to have received its name by Hau, the great Māori explorer. On his quest to find his wife who had left him for another lover, Hau is said to have pursued her along the south west coast of the North Island. As he travelled, he came across and named river mouths including Whanganui, Whangaehu and Rangitikei according to events that befell him at the time. He came across a large, wide river mouth. In awe of the sight and in fear he might not be able to cross it, he stated "Ka tū taku manawa" (My heart stands still). [1]

The term Manawatu (often the Manawatu) is also used to refer to a somewhat larger geographical region centred on the floodplain of the Manawatu River, with Palmerston North as its principal city. Like several other geographical regions, such as Wairarapa and the King Country, the Manawatu in this sense never had precisely defined borders, its extents determined largely by custom and preference. Usually included were Palmerston North and all or most of today's Manawatu and Horowhenua Districts. Parts of the Rangitikei and/or Tararua districts could also be included.


The population of the district is 29,300 (June 2015 estimate).[1] The main town, Feilding, has a population of 15,950. Other towns, townships and villages include Halcombe, Himatangi, Bainesse, Waituna West, Kimbolton, Apiti, Rangiwahia, Rongotea, Pohangina, Tangimoana, Himatangi Beach and Sanson.

Local government[edit]

Rongotea Community Centre and Library (Dec. 2011)
Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Rongotea (c. 1895)
St. Andrews Combined Church and hall, Bainesse, Manawatu

District Council[edit]

Manawatu District Council was formed by the amalgamation of the Feilding Borough, Kiwitea County, Manawatu District, Oroua County and Pohangina County Councils in the 1989 local government reforms.

For the purposes of representation, Manawatu District is divided into three wards:

Ward name Number of councillors Area included
Feilding 5 Feilding (urban)
Kairanga 3 Rongotea, Sanson, Himatangi Beach, Ohakea, Bainesse, Kairanga (north of Kairanga Bunnythorpe Rd, Longburn (west of the NIMT), Karere, Tangimoana. (Rural south)
Kiwitea-Pohangina 2 Kimbolton, Halcombe, Cheltenham, Waituna West, Rangiwahia, Apiti. (rural north)

The council is responsible for day-to-day administration and services:

  • Animal control
  • Bylaws
  • Cemeteries
  • Community grants and funding
  • Infrastructure such as roads, drains, rubbish collection.
  • Library services
  • Liquor licensing
  • Property profiling.


Margaret Kouvelis in 2015

Ian McKelvie was first elected mayor in a by-election in November 2002. After being elected to Parliament in the 2011 election, he resigned from the mayoralty on 15 December 2011.[2][3] Deputy Mayor Matt Bell was then acting mayor until a by-election held on 7 March 2012.[3] The by-election was narrowly won by Margaret Kouvelis from Feilding, who beat councillor Steven Gibson by just 14 votes (3293 votes to 3279).[4] Kouvelis is the current mayor of the district.

Horizons Regional Council[edit]

Manawatu District is in the Manawatu-Wanganui Region, which is governed by the Horizons Regional Council. For electoral and representation purposes, the district is divided into:

  • Horowhenua-Kairanga Ward: rural area south of Feilding, including the entire Horowhenua District.
  • Manawatu-Rangitikei Ward: Feilding and rural area to the north, and including the entire Rangitikei District.


The Manawatu district is a contrast of plains and rolling hills and as such provides an excellent challenge for cyclists and spectacular views of the Central North Island volcanoes on clear days. The western coast provides popular swimming beaches and large sand dunes, while the Ruahine Ranges in the east provide walking tracks and views over the district from the omnipresent Wharite mountain or from the Saddle Road.

In the middle of the district is Feilding, with its famous saleyards, equestrian and motorsport venue (Manfeild), boutique shopping and historical landmarks and collections.

Manawatu is the location of RNZAF Base Ohakea and its museum.



  • Feilding High School - Feilding
  • Hato Paora College - Cheltenham


  • Feilding Intermediate School - Feilding


  • Manchester Street School - Feilding
  • Lytton Street School
  • North Street School
  • St Joseph's School
  • Colyton School
  • Taonui School
  • Kiwitea School
  • Apiti School
  • Utuwai School
  • Cheltenham School
  • Awahou School
  • Sanson School
  • Glen Oroua School
  • Taikorea School
  • Bainesse School
  • Rongotea School


  1. ^ a b "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2015 (provisional)". Statistics New Zealand. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2015.  For urban areas, "Infoshare; Group: Population Estimates - DPE; Table: Estimated Resident Population for Urban Areas, at 30 June (1996+) (Annual-Jun)". Statistics New Zealand. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2015. 
  2. ^ "National Selects Ian Mckelvie As Rangitikei Candidate" (Press release). 30 May 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Mayor's busy final week" (Press release). Manawatu District Council. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Crosbie, Sandra (15 March 2012). "Mayor Kouvelis takes the reins". Manawatu Standard. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°05′35″S 175°46′55″E / 40.093°S 175.782°E / -40.093; 175.782