Palmerston North—or "Palmy" as the locals call it—is home to several major educational and research institutes. Thanks to these, young students make up one-third of Palmerston North's population. The biggest influence on the city is Massey University, one of the country's leading universities. The Massey campus has two Palmerston North locations: Turitea, set among huge trees and lovely gardens; and Hokowhitu, on the city side of the Manawatu River, with modern buildings near the lagoon. Campus also includes the Sport and Rugby Institute, where the All Blacks (the national rugby team) and other national and international elite sports people come to train.
The city also provides services for the thriving, surrounding farming industry. Rolling, rural sheep and cattle farms, stunning gardens, and rural homestay retreats are all in close proximity, nestling at the foot of the steep, snow-covered in winter, Ruahine Ranges.