- Official club name: The Friendship Force of Manawatu
- Closest major airport: Palmerston North
- Cost of transportation between airport and city: Arrival in New Zealand: bus, train or plane to Palmerston North or Feilding; arrival at Palmerston North or Feilding, Ambassadors will be met by their hosts.
- The maximum number of Ambassadors our club can host: 25
About the Club
The Friendship Force of Manawatu was chartered on March 7 1989. It meets each month in the town of Feilding. There are approximately 55 members aged 60 plus, many of whom have been members for 15 – 20 years and have travelled widely. Most are actively engaged in social, cultural or sporting clubs as well as many volunteer activities. We were one of the first clubs worldwide to host Bridgebuilder groups - from the Eastern USA - then a Dutch choir, lawn-bowlers and quilters. As well as the USA, we have enjoyed hosting clubs from Canada, Japan, Ireland, England, Belgium and Ukraine, Romania and Australia.
About Our Region
New Zealand is one of the youngest countries in European terms. Although settled by Maori in the 1200s, it wasn’t discovered by Europeans until 1642 then settled from the mid-19th century. New Zealanders have worked hard in the past 200 years, with a multicultural population growing to 4.5 million, to provide the infrastructure, industries and economy necessary for people to enjoy a modern democratic lifestyle.
Manawatu region is a dairy and sheep farming area with rolling hills and alluvial valleys in the southern central area of the North Island of New Zealand. Palmerston North (pop 84,000), its main city, is 145 km north of Wellington, New Zealand’s capital. Feilding (pop 15,000), is a rural town 14 km to the north west of Palmerston North. It is home to the Manawatu Friendship Force. Both towns are culturally rich, relatively flat and spacious with lovely parks and gardens, and a relaxed pace of life. Palmerston North, founded in 1866, is a major New Zealand communications centre which straddles the Manawatu River. The city has a wide variety of internationally recognized tertiary education institutions and research establishments. The vibrant student population and many ethnic groups provide a rich culture often celebrated in public festivals and performances. It has four golf courses, two horse racing tracks, greyhound racing, an excellent aquatic centre, regular stock car races and many other sports venues are used well every weekend. Feilding, first settled in 1874, is proud of its Edwardian architecture.
The community has restored the town’s heart, which boasts great shopping, no traffic lights and free parking. The town has a rural atmosphere particularly evident on Fridays when the farming community comes to town for the weekly cattle and sheep sales. The throughput of stock is the highest in New Zealand and the district’s reputation for quality stud breeding is respected worldwide. Manfield Park is an internationally recognized autocourse and major events centre, hosting agricultural field days, international equestrian events, etc. The climate in Manawatu is variable, summer generally ranges between 16ºC and 23ºC and winter days’ maxima range between 8ºC to 14ºC with much colder nights. A 75o mm rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year. Wind can be frequent, and is stronger in spring and autumn. Whichever season you arrive, bring clothing for all weathers.
Agriculture: The Feilding saleyards give a great introduction to New Zealand sheep and cattle. Visits to farms to see sheep shearing, working dogs, dairy sheds, etc., can also be arranged.
Museums: The Manawatu district has, among others, The Horsedrawn Vehicle Museum, working Steam Museum, working Steam Rail Museum, Clock Museum, Motorcycle Museum, New Zealand Rugby Museum and Te Manawa Museum.
Culture: The beautifully restored Regent Theatre in Palmerston North regularly features national and international performances of music, dance, comedy, etc. Other theatre groups and cultural festivals provide year-round entertainment. Both Palmerston North and Feilding have boutique cinemas that show award-winning international films and both have art galleries.
Nature: The Kimbolton Rhododendron Gardens and other public and private gardens, often associated with heritage buildings, attract thousands. Many gentle walking tracks take people through gardens, along winding rivers and through native forest.
Sport: Sports of all kinds play a big part in New Zealand life. Both Feilding and Palmerston North have excellent aquatic centres, which our guests enjoy. There are golf courses where ambassadors can play at a very reasonable cost. There are equestrian centres and horse-trekking companies where visitors can try their skills or they can attend horse racing and trotting meetings. There is a wide range of walking, cycling and tramping (hiking) tracks in the towns and the wider rural and forest areas.
Scenery: Watch the sunset while you enjoy a BBQ on a Tasman Sea beach, feel New Zealand’s strongest wind as you hug a wind turbine, listen to native birds as you walk tracks between towering trees, learn the history of an early town through its murals.
About our Programme
Arrangements can be made, with the approval of both the Host and Ambassador Coordinators and at Ambassadors’ cost, for groups to be transported by bus or private car from their arrival airport in New Zealand and/or to be transported between hostings. Overnight hotel accommodation and sightseeing can also be arranged. Costs for these extras will depend on the number of ambassadors and the current exchange rate. Hosts are located in Feilding, Palmerston North and the surrounding rural areas.
Updated 16 February 2017
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