Growing Our Region

Investors eyeing central New Zealand freight distribution hub – Te Utanganui

The unique connectivity between air, road, rail and sea (via an inland port) is one of the major attractions for freight and logistics companies making their home at Te Utanganui, the Central New Zealand Distribution Hub.

The hub, located within Manawatū, north-east of Palmerston North near Bunnythorpe and encompassing the 24/7 consented Palmerston North Airport and its Ruapehu Business Park, is the natural and logical centre for distribution across central New Zealand and is now poised for unprecedented growth.

Key national and global businesses including FoodStuffs, Countdown, and Toyota NZ have already developed large warehouses in and around the hub and more are being encouraged to invest.

Te Utanganui

Complementing the Golden Triangle (Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga) and southern Christchurch node, Te Utanganui will act as the third node in New Zealand’s national transport and freight network connecting the lower North Island to the rest of the country.

Manawatū sits at the intersection of State Highways 1, 2 and 3, enabling easy access to Wellington, Wairarapa, Rangitikei, Tararua, Hawke’s Bay and Taranaki regions, with great connectivity to major ports.  Palmerston North Airport is one of only three airports in New Zealand consented for 24/7 dedicated air freight services, and KiwiRail are well underway with their plans to develop a multi-million dollar rail freight hub within Te Utanganui.

David Murphy, Chief Planning Officer with Palmerston North City Council (PNCC), says freight volumes are expected to increase significantly in the coming decades, and more than $8 billion of transport and infrastructure investment is planned and already underway in Palmy and Manawatu in the next 10 years, with $3.3 billion of this committed to roading infrastructure upgrades in the region alone.

Once fully completed, the freight hub will provide economic, social and environmental benefits for the region and the country and will help reduce emissions through more effective freight movement and provide more efficient delivery of goods.

“Te Utanganui presents a win-win for everyone from investors to industries, transport improvement to cities and provinces, environment protection, job creation and much more,” says Jerry Shearman, CEO of the Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA).

“Te Utanganui takes development in Manawatū-Whanganui to the next level, building on initiatives already planned for the area like KiwiRail’s Regional Freight Hub and major roading projects including Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua highway and Ōtaki to north of Levin expressway.”

The development of Te Utanganui is a collaborative effort, led by CEDA on behalf of PNCC and Manawatū District and in partnership with Rangitāne o Manawatū, key central government agencies, and commercial entities.

For more information and to see the Strategy visit