The Region 

It is our pleasure to introduce you to Manawatu rugby and the Manawatu region.

The landscape sweeps dramatically from the Ruahine and Tararua mountain ranges, through the spectacular Manawatu Gorge and picturesque Pohangina Valley, along Manawatu River to the coastal plains of Tangimoana and Himatangi.  The region enjoys a mild climate, providing fantastic growing conditions for the many public, world-class gardens.

Manawatu is easy to access and easy to navigate with Palmerston North International Airport open 99.97% of the year (due to favourable weather conditions), and located just 5.5km from the CBD of Palmerston North.

Real provincial New Zealand, with space to play, natural surroundings, and truly great people to call our friends!!

Manawatu is Young Heart Easy Living! 

Easy Play.  Manawatu offers a safe, healthy life, where play, sport and adventure of many kinds are available to everybody.


Easy Country. In the country, we are kind to the environment and our city people are supportive of the rural community.

Easy Living.  Manawatu is free of the big city hassles.  It's a place where we can put our energy into our families, our health, our friendships, our work and be part of a safe and caring community.

Easy Learning.  In Manawatu, we value life-long learning and the daring exploration of new ideas, be they in arts, science, business, farming or teaching, and being supportive of people who want to take these ideas to the world.

Easy Green.  Manawatu strives to be a region  of sustainable balance between the needs of people, business development, and the natural environment.

Easy Together.  Manawatu welcomes people of all ages, and creeds.  We want to learn from and celebrate what all cultures bring to our community.

Easy Shopping.  The cities and towns of Manawatu offer a shopping experience that is vibrant, fun, safe and accessible for people young and old.

Easy Business.  Manawatu values those who want to use our central location, our knowledge resources, our stable work force and our new ideas to create and maintain a thriving local economy.

Easy Discoveries.  Manawatu is full of people who seek a varied and refreshing experience.

The Union

On Thursday the 2nd of June 2005 the New Zealand Rugby Union issued a press release detailing the new format for the premier division of the NPC: the Air New Zealand Cup. Fourteen regional rugby unions had been invited to participate, including four new additions to the competition: Tasman, Hawkes Bay, Counties-Manakau, and… Manawatu.

The NZRU decision signalled a new beginning for Manawatu rugby, and the chance to once again compete on a semi-professional level. Formed in 1886 the Manawatu Rugby Union is the 10th largest in the country, having produced thirty-six All Blacks including Sam Strahan, Kent Lambert, Doug Rollerson, and Christian Cullen. Being able to call on a large talent base from Massey University, Linton Camp, and the sprawling greater Manawatu region gave the MRU a healthy level of talent to draw on. The 1970’s, and early 80’s in particular were the Union’s ‘glory days’, with three Ranfurly Shield victories, a premier division win, and approximately eight local All Blacks. But an increasing lack of player availability took its toll and in 1988 the NZRU demoted Manawatu to the second division. A bid to re-join the premier division, made after the combined Manawatu-Hawkes Bay Vikings team won the competition in 1998, was turned down by the NZRU. Manawatu developed excellent player academies but was unable to retain talent as young players moved to other unions and a shot at playing in the top division. But in late December 2004 came a lifeline: the NZRU announced changes to the NPC competition which would allow provincial unions a chance to re-apply to compete in the premier division.

The Premier Team, the Turbos, play at FMG Stadium,Arena Manawatu

The redeveloped Grandstand complements the highly regarded playing surface and has been the prime reason why Arena Manawatu has been so successful in recent years in securing a range of international and national sporting fixtures such as a match in the highly publicised British & Irish Lions 2005 tour.  FMG Stadium was home to the first ever Super 12 Rugby match.  


The Rugby


Strategic Partners

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