Study in New Zealand, the country of world-renowned scenic beauty and a modern innovative society

New Zealand is known not only for its beautiful environment but also for its world-class educational institutes. Even though it is geographically remote, New Zealand has developed techniques and technologies to remain at pace with the rest of the world, and often surpassing it. Young and free of constricting traditions, New Zealand has learned to be self-reliant and to forge its own way in the world.

IPU New Zealand sign on a stone wall
Study in beautiful New Zealand

New Zealand is the ultimate destination for adventure lovers. In a pristine natural environment of mountains, lakes and coast, you’ll find a great number of affordable and accessible activities that will satisfy your yearning for adventure.

Student hub of New Zealand

Palmerston North is located in the North Island of New Zealand and it’s the seventh-largest city in the country. A third of its population is between 15 and 30 years old, and students account for 36 % of its population. The city’s students come from over 60 countries, which makes it a cosmopolitan and vibrant community. People of like minds meet at many cultural events or sporting clubs, events, cinemas and theaters. The low cost of living compared to other cities in New Zealand and the safe and friendly environment are what draws students to the area.


Key Facts

Full name: New Zealand (Aotearoa)
Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Population: 4,745,062 (May 2018)
Capital: Wellington
Area: 268,021 sq km
Major languages: English, Maori, Samoan, Hindi, Mandarin, French, NZ Sign
Major religions: Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism. A large percentage of New Zealanders are nonreligious
Life expectancy: 83,3 years (women), 80 years (men)
Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
Main exports: Dairy, eggs and honey, meat, wood, fruits and nuts, beverages, spirits and vinegar, fish
GNI per capita: US $ 37,190 (World Bank, 2016)
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +12 (summer +13)

Blue flag with 4 red stars on the right side and the british flag in the top left corner
The flag of New Zealand

Best of Palmerston North

The Plaza is the largest shopping centre in the Manawatu-Wanganui region and a key shopping centre in the lower North Island, boasting over 100 stores.


Downtown on Broadway combines retail and boutique shopping and Downtown Cinemas.

The Square

The Square is a seven-hectare park of lawn, trees, lakes, fountains and gardens in the centre of the city. It is the centre point whence the city’s main streets are arranged. Near the centre of the park is the Clock Tower with its illuminated cross and coloured lights. You can also find the city’s iSite, the Civic Building, the City Library, Square Edge, and the commercial heart of Palmerston North’s CBD there. Retail stores (including the Plaza) and eateries line the road surrounding the park.

Parks and recreational facilities

Palmerston North and its surrounding areas feature roughly 100 parks and reserves. The most popular of them is Victoria Esplanade located along the northern bank of the Manawatu River, west of Fitzherbert Avenue. The esplanade gardens include serene native bush surrounding family-friendly facilities, an aviary, a café, a duck pond, the Palmerston North Esplanade Scenic Railway, the Peter Black Conservatory and walking tracks within the bush.

Nearby the Esplanade are the multi-sport playing fields of Ongley and Manawaroa Parks, the twin turf hockey fields and Fitzherbert Park, the premier cricket ground. The Hokowhitu Lagoon is also located nearby the Esplanade and is a popular site for recreational kayaking and canoeing.

The Lido Aquatic Centre is Palmerston North’s largest aquatic centre. It provides outdoor facilities including a family leisure pool, a 50 m pool for competitive swimming and a dive pool. Indoor facilities include a second family leisure pool, spa pool, heated pool and cafe. Freyberg Community Pool is an all-year indoor swimming pool complex located next to Freyberg High School in Roslyn.

Geography and areas

The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island and the South Island, which are separated by Cook Strait, and around 600 smaller islands. The South Island is the largest landmass of New Zealand and is the 12thlargest island in the world and the North Island is the 14th largest island in the world. It is less mountainous than the South Island but it’s marked by volcanism. New Zealand is long and narrow (over 1,600 kilometres along its north-north-east axis with a maximum width of 400 kilometres), with about 15,000 km of coastline and a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres. Because of its far-flung outlying islands and long coastline, the country has extensive marine resources.

A yellow globe focused on New Zealand
New Zealand on the globe

New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country’s varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand is part of Australasia, and also forms the south-western extremity of Polynesia. The term Oceania is often used to denote the region encompassing the Australian continent, New Zealand and various islands in the Pacific Ocean that are not included in the seven-continent model.

Although the land Palmerston North is situated on is bounded by the lofty Ruahine and Tararua ranges in the east and south respectively, the city has a predominantly flat appearance. The occasional rise in elevation occurs further away from the river and is especially pronounced in the north and northeast, and also on the south side of the river. The typical urban area elevation ranges between 20–40 metres above sea level. The highest point is 760 metres above sea level. This is in the Tararua ranges, south-east of Scotts Road. The lowest Point is 10 metres above sea level. This is at the river bank near Te Puna Road. Incidentally, both these locations are in the south-west of the city, by Linton. There are 5.54 square kilometres dedicated to public reserves.

Climate and weather

New Zealand’s climate is predominantly temperate maritime with mean annual temperatures ranging from 10 °C (50 °F) in the south to 16 °C (61 °F) in the north. Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch all receive a yearly average of more than 2,000 hours of sunshine. The southern and south-western parts of the South Island have a cooler and cloudier climate, with around 1,400–1,600 hours; the northern and north-eastern parts of the South Island are the sunniest areas of the country and receive about 2,400–2,500 hours. The general snow season is from early June until early October, though cold snaps can occur outside this season. Snowfall is common in the eastern and southern parts of the South Island and mountain areas across the country.

Huge snowy mountain in New Zealand. In the forefront, there is a road and dry nature
New Zealand, snow and greenery at the same time

Palmerston North has four seasons in a year: Summer is January-March, autumn April-June, winter July-September and spring October-December. The city’s climate is temperate with maximum daytime temperatures averaging 22 °C (72 °F) in summer and 12 °C (54 °F) in winter. On average temperatures rise above 25 °C (77 °F) on 20 days of the year. Annual rainfall is approximately 960 mm with rain occurring approximately 5% of the time. There are on average 200 rain-free days each year. In the ranges that flank the city, there is often sustained wind, especially in spring. Much of this land is within the city boundaries and these ranges have the reputation of providing the most consistent wind in the country.

Food and drink

Palmerston North is dotted with charming cafes, boutique eateries, popular delicatessens and also many take away eateries in close proximity to the campus. Even the most discerning connoisseurs will be delighted with the variety of dining options in the city. You can take your taste buds on a tour around the world with the international cuisine and indulge in some classic New Zealand lamb, seafood and steaks. The locals are very much into coffee and award-winning baristas are making their mark on the café culture of the city. You will also find a range of country cafes and pubs amongst some of the most scenic landscapes the region has to offer.

A garnished lamb cutlet served on a plate
New Zealand is known for its lamb

Transportation and getting around

Palmerston North is strategically located in the lower North Island of New Zealand, with the capital city of Wellington being less than two hours south of the campus.


Palmerston North Airport is 5 kilometres, or a 10-minute drive from the city centre and is the gateway to the Region and Central New Zealand. The airport has up to 40 scheduled flights per day from all major centres in the country. The airport is serviced by Air New Zealand, OriginAir and Jetstar. Taxi and shuttle services to the city depart from in front of the airport terminal building and many of the major New Zealand vehicle rental companies are represented at the airport.


Palmerston North City is a stop on the famous Northern Explorer train between Auckland and Wellington taking in some of NZ’s most beautiful scenery. The Northern Explorer operates a six-day timetable, departing Auckland on Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Wellington on Tuesday, Friday, Sunday.

Steam train in New Zealand
An old steam train traveling in New Zealand

Travelling to and from Wellington is easy on the Capital Connection – a two-hour commuter rail service between Palmerston North City and Wellington that runs Monday – Friday (excluding public holidays).


The Manawatu region has a good variety of national bus services, with NakedBus, ManaBus and Intercity giving access to the rest of the North Island.

Buses to town leave from the campus bus stop.

Most locals drive a car or use the bus services but in a small city such as Palmerston North, you can also easily walk some distances. If students wish to drive a car, they are required to obtain New Zealand Driver’s License and parking permit and provide IPU with proof of car insurance.


The currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). Within New Zealand, it is almost always abbreviated with the dollar sign ($), with “NZ$” sometimes used to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. The dollar is divided into 100 cents. Altogether there are ten denominations—five coins and five banknotes—with the smallest being the 10-cent coin. The New Zealand dollar is consistently one of the 10 most traded currencies in the world.

Two gold coins
The New Zealand dollar is the official currency of New Zealand

There are plenty of ATMs in Palmerston North. New Zealanders often use an EFTPOS card as a means of paying rather than carrying cash. During orientation days students will have the opportunity to set up a New Zealand bank account to acquire this card.


In general, New Zealand and Palmerston North are very safe.

While enjoying nightlife it is recommended to stay in groups, watch your drinks and take a taxi home.

Students should also pay attention to the Outdoor Safety Code, the Water Safety Code (and swim only on patrolled beaches) and earthquake safety tips.

Sunrise on top of a mountain in New Zealand.
Make sure to check the weather before heading out!

Checking out the latest weather report before venturing out on an outdoor trip is important, as New Zealand’s weather can change rapidly.


Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccinations should also be considered, especially if you plan on travelling in Asia before or after studying in New Zealand.

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