Palmerston North—or "Palmy" as the locals call it—is home to several major educational and research institutes. Thanks to these, students make up one-third of the population. The biggest influence on the city is Massey University, one of the country's leading postsecondary institutions. It is set among huge trees and lovely gardens just across the Manawatu River on Palmerston North's southern edge. The campus includes the Sport and Rugby Institute, which serves as a training facility for players on the All Blacks (New Zealand's revered national rugby team) and other elite athletes.
The city provides services for the surrounding agricultural industry as well. Rolling sheep and cattle farms, stunning gardens, and country homestay retreats are all in close proximity, nestling at the foot of the steep Ruahine Ranges.