At a glance

This is an infographic showing statistics for the region of Manawatū Whanganui. It includes information about the population in 2018, projected population in 2048, Māori population and percentage of overall regional population in 2018, a list of iwi and h

Arataki Manawatū-Whanganui regional direction [PDF, 2.3 MB]

Arataki Manawatū-Whanganui statistics table - infographic alternative [PDF, 117 KB]

The September v1.1 release of Arataki includes updates to reflect the severe weather events of 2023 and make minor corrections.

The central location of Manawatū–Whanganui means its transport networks carry significant volumes of through-traffic, connecting people and freight south to Te Upoko o te Ika a Māui Greater Wellington, east to Te Matau-a-Māui Hawke’s Bay and north to Waikato and beyond.  

Network resilience is an issue. Climate change is expected to bring more intense and frequent storms that will impact areas with unstable terrain north of Whanganui. The impacts of sea level rise will also increase for low-lying coastal communities.  

Te Papa-i-Oea Palmerston North is emerging as the primary distribution centre for the Lower North Island. The development of a high-tech rail hub in the northeast will allow rail to play a greater role in moving freight.  

The population of Manawatū–Whanganui is expected to increase from 238,000 to more than 276,000 by 2048, or 2% of the population of Aotearoa New Zealand. Most of this growth is expected in Te Papa-i-Oea, Aorangi Feilding, and Taitoko Levin.

There is an opportunity to increase walking and cycling rates in Te Papa-i-Oea, Whanganui, Aorangi, and Taitoko, by investing in safe and attractive facilities. Active modes are the best way to reduce vehicle kilometres travelled, along with growing the amount of freight moved by rail and coastal shipping.  

Other critical transport challenges facing the region over the next three decades include safety, resilience, and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy. 

Focusing our efforts 

For efficient and effective progress, transport challenges in Manawatū–Whanganui must be tackled in a cohesive way. The directions below identify the most important issues to be resolved over the next 10 years to make progress towards transport outcomes.  

  • Reduce vehicle kilometres travelled, focusing on Te Papa-i-Oea Palmerston North, in a way that’s equitable and improves quality of life.  
  • Enable and support the region’s transition to a low-carbon economy.  
  • Maintain and improve the resilience and efficiency of interregional connections to the north and south.  
  • Improve access to social and economic opportunities, especially by public transport, walking, and cycling.  
  • Significantly reduce the harm caused by the region’s transport system, especially through improved road safety and reduced pollutants dangerous to health.  
  • Actively support, enable, and encourage growth and development in areas that already have good travel choices and shorter trip lengths.  
  • Rapidly accelerate the delivery of walking and cycling networks predominantly through reshaping existing streets, to make these options safe and attractive.  
  • Explore new and emerging technologies, such as on-demand services, to improve access to social and economic opportunities.  
  • Better understand the impact of future economic transformation on travel patterns and freight volumes.  
  • Explore opportunities to move to a multimodal freight system with greater use of rail and coastal shipping.  
  • Confirm how resilience risks will be addressed over time, and work with communities to plan when to defend, accommodate, or retreat.  
  • Continue to implement road safety plans and programmes including those focused for iwi Māori.  
  • Improve or maintain, as appropriate, physical access to marae, papakāinga, wāhi tapu, and wāhi taonga.  

These will be updated over time to focus effort on the most critical matters.

Arataki Manawatū-Whanganui regional direction [PDF, 2.3 MB]