Manawatu-Wanganui is a region in the lower half of the North Island of New Zealand, whose main population centres are the cities of Palmerston North and Whanganui. It is administered by the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council, which for trading purposes is known asHorizons Regional Council.
The region covers all or part of ten territorial authority areas. Parts of five of these are covered by five other regions of New Zealand, the most of any region. In descending order of land area the territorial authority districts are Ruapehu, the major parts of Tararua and Rangitikei, Manawatu, Whanganui, Horowhenua, small parts of Stratford, Waitomo and Taupo. The largest city is Palmerston North, with a population of 85,300 (June 2012 estimate). It is the only territorial authority in the region to be administered by a city council.
The governing body of the regional council consists of 12 councillors from 6 constituencies across the region, elected by the public; from the north: Ruapehu (1 councillor), Wanganui (2), Manawatu-Rangitikei (2), Palmerston North (4), Horowhenua-Kairanga (2), Tararua (1). It sits in Palmerston North. It has the responsibility for managing natural and physical resources, providing flood protection and monitoring environmental problems and fresh air, clean water, productive land and natural eco-systems. It is also responsible for public transport.
For the eight quarters between September 1996 and June 1998 the region averaged 4.1% of total guest nights in New Zealand. This was close behind Wellington at 6.7% and greater than Hawke's Bay, which averaged 3.1%. Occupancy rates, at 20.1%, were the fourth-lowest in the country for the June 1998 quarter. Rates for the city of Palmerston North were significantly higher than the national average (39.5% compared with 25.8%) whereas districts such as Ruapehu are far more seasonal with fairly low occupancy rates except in the peak ski season.