Feilding, New Zealand

Feilding is a small town situated in the Manawatu District of the Manawatu-Whanganui region in the southwestern part of the North Island of New Zealand. Named after Colonel William Henry Adelbert Fielding, this Edwardian-themed town has won the recognition of being the “most beautiful town in New Zealand” not once but 16 times. At present, the town serves as a service town for the neighboring farming district and is widely known for its Edwardian architecture, red-bricked pavements, colorful flowerbeds, and a friendly atmosphere.

Geography Of Feilding

The iconic Clock tower in Feilding, New Zealand.
The iconic Clock tower in Feilding, New Zealand. Editorial credit: brackish_nz / Shutterstock.com

As per Statistics New Zealand, Feilding is described as a medium urban area that covers a total area of 23.65 sq. km. The town also serves as the seat of the Manawatu District Council and is situated on State Highway 54, approximately 20km northwest of the city of Palmerston North and 160km north of Wellington. The narrow Manawatu Gorge is located about 19.31km southeast of Feilding and provides the sole low-altitude east-west route in the southern part of the island. Due to its location on floodplains of the Manawatu and Rangitikei Rivers in an area referred to as the Manawatu Plains, Feilding is surrounded by fertile agricultural lands on all sides.

Climate

According to the Köppen climate classification, Feilding experiences a temperate oceanic climate. February is the hottest month having an average temperature of 23.6°C, while July is the coldest month with an average temperature of 12.8°C. The town receives an average annual rainfall of 1086mm.

The Population And Economy Of Feilding

Feilding Livestock Saleyards in Feilding, New Zealand.
Feilding Livestock Saleyards in Feilding, New Zealand. Editorial credit: brackish_nz / Shutterstock.com

As of June 2021, Feilding has a population of 17,350 inhabitants. The town’s population has increased from the 2018 New Zealand census, which showed that the town was home to 15,912 inhabitants. Feilding has a population density of 735.4 inhabitants per sq. km. About 87.0% of the town’s population were European/Pakeha, 19.4% were Maori, 2.5% Pacific people, 3.2% Asians, and 1.7% other ethnicities.

At present, Feilding serves as a service town for the neighboring farming district. Situated at the center of the town, the Feilding Saleyards has served as an essential part of the large Manawatu farming community for more than 125 years. Located on the outskirts of Feilding is a $24m factory owned by an Iowa-based private firm named Proliant. The factory produces about half of the world’s Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA), which is widely used in medical research, vaccines, and pharmaceuticals.

Tourist Attractions In Feilding

Coach House Museum

Located at 127 South Street, the Coach House Museum houses an excellent collection of New Zealand’s rural heritage that showcases more than 140 years of the region’s local history. The museum displays horse-drawn vehicles, old tractors and farm machinery, sheep and dairy farming, the life of early settlers, etc., that tell the visitors fascinating stories about the rich history of the Manawatu region.

Colyton Clocks Museum

The Colyton Clocks Museum houses the most extensive worldwide collection of time-keeping pieces in the Southern Hemisphere. The oldest piece in the collection dates back to more than 300 years, and many other pieces in the collection are over 100 years old. 

Feilding Farmer’s Market

The Fielding Farmer’s Market sits every Friday morning from 8:30 am at the heart of Feilding, beneath the landmark clocktower in the beautiful Manchester Square. The bustling farmer’s market offers one the perfect opportunity to stock the fresh winter produce and the seasonal artisan delicacies directly from the farmers and producers. 

Manfield: Circuit Chris Amon

Entrance to the Manfield Autocourse in Feilding, New Zealand
Entrance to the Manfield Autocourse in Feilding, New Zealand. Editorial credit: brackish_nz / Shutterstock.com

Situated at the southern edge of Feilding, the Manfeild: Circuit Chris Amon is one of the principal motor racing circuits of New Zealand. In 1973, the Manawatu Car Club constructed the main 3.030km long motorsport circuit. The circuit has been named in honor of Chris Amon – the former New Zealand Formula One driver, and has hosted seventeen New Zealand Grand Prix events since 1992.

Brief History

A stamp commemorating Henry A Feilding and the Feilding Borough in Feilding, New Zealand
A stamp printed in New Zealand shows Henry A Feilding, Borough Emblem, Borough of Feilding, circa 1981. Editorial credit: Boris15 / Shutterstock.com

The region was initially inhabited by the indigenous Maori people, who practiced fishing in the surrounding waterways, constructed communal vegetable plots, and harvested vegetation from the dense forest floors. In 1871, Colonel William Henry Adelbert Feilding, who served as the Director of the Emigrants and Colonists Aid Corporation Limited, came to the region. Colonel Feilding purchased a 400 sq. km block of land from the Wellington Provincial Government for the British Immigration Scheme. The town of Feilding was initially laid out in 1874 and eventually became the first township on the Manchester block that was developed by the Emigrants and Colonists Aid Corporation Limited. On January 22, 1874, the first 2000 immigrants from Great Britain arrived at the Manchester block. In September 1993, the Feilding Edwardian Project Inc. was established by local businesses. The main aim was to revitalize the town’s central business area, and several commercial buildings constructed during this period have been adequately restored. There are two historic meeting houses: the Maniaihu meeting house and the Kauwhata meeting house, located a few kilometers south of Feilding.

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