A Guide to Working in Palmerston North, New Zealand

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In this Palmerston North location guide, we highlight the unique benefits of the area and its facilities, outlining the opportunities available to our doctors. This location is part of a wider series that showcases what it is like to work in a specific region in either Australia or New Zealand.

Palmerston North, New Zealand

Palmerston North is home to 84,000 people, making it New Zealand’s eighth largest urban area by population. Often described as having the ideal combination of vibrant city life and accessible rural pursuits, Palmerston North is also handily located just over two hours’ drive from Wellington International Airport. The original Maori name for the site of the city, “Te Papa-i-Oea,” translates to “How beautiful it is”. We’re confident you will agree.

Things to See and Do in Palmerston North

One of Palmerston North’s draws is the New Zealand Rugby Museum, where you can learn the history of the sport that has helped to shape the country and peruse a collection of some of the world’s rarest rugby artefacts. Continuing your cultural education, Palmerston North is also home to a variety of art galleries including the Zimmerman Art Gallery, as well as several heritage collections and even a liberal sprinkling of urban street art which you can find across the area.

Though the city is famed for its array of beautiful parks, Victoria Esplanade stands out as the largest and arguably most beautiful. Set against the bank of the Manawatu River, the park is home to 26 hectares of bush walks, bike tracks and gardens, with plenty of picnic facilities and a café located at the centre.

You can also gain free admission to the Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery Centre. The centre takes local native wildlife that has recently undergone treatment at Massey University (just across the Manawatu River) and helps to rehabilitate them. Admission is free, with multiple avaries to enjoy which include four rehabilitation, two breeding and one walkthrough.

For a slightly more adventurous outdoor experience, you can take the Kahuts Shuttle service to Arapuke Forest Mountain Bike Park, located just over 10km from the city. Once there, you have access to more than 30km of single track from grade 2-6 with a variety of trail types including flow, jumps, technical and extreme.

Palmerston North Hospital

Operated by the MidCentral District Health Board and located on the northern edge of the city near Palmerston North Airport, the hospital services an 880,000-hectare geographic region spanning the North Island.

Facilities include a dedicated Intensive Care Unit, Coronary Artery Unit and Neonatal Unit as well as one of the largest trauma centres in New Zealand. The hospital is a 350-bed secondary care facility, which services an urban population of more than 85,000 with a total population catchment of roughly twice that number. The hospital is a teaching centre and is linked with both the Auckland and Otago medical schools.

In 2018, Palmerston North Hospital turned 125 years old, having served the Manawatu region since 1893! The hospital came into existence thanks to the efforts of the local community who acquired land, petitioned the government to change legislation and organised a myriad of fundraising activities. The project was eventually completed at a cost of £3,700 (three times the initial budget) with provision for the care of 25 patients. Interestingly, one of the original members of staff, Ellen Dougherty, was the world’s first Registered Nurse.


Palmerston North offers a compelling combination of urban activity and outdoor pursuits with something for everyone. Working out of Palmerston North hospital, you will have the opportunity to quickly embed yourself into a community that is small enough to feel like home and large enough to keep surprising you.

To learn more about the region and any potential locum and permanent opportunities, please contact the team today.

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