O Week signals student influx again
It's that time of year when Palmerston North's tertiary education population grows and for one Massey University newby his move to Manawatu was a family affair.
James Gray, 18, of Upper Hutt, is one of more than 700 first year students moving into the university's halls of residence this week.
About 35 students shifted in yesterday, another 35 are expected to move in today and the remaining 600 tomorrow.
Carrying his suitcases, boxes of books and bags of food to his new home at Moginie Hall was his uncle, his cousin, his sister and his dad.
The former Heretaunga College student said picking Massey was motivated by family, but he did have a love interest which swayed his decision - his girlfriend Taylah is also coming to the city to study.
"She convinced me just a bit, but really it's because it's close to home and near my family."
The aspiring football player is planning to study a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science and said he was looking forward to "making new friends", signing up for a football club, and hopefully making his mark in Manawatu.
In the three-car-convoy helping his shift was Mr Gray's father, Phil Gray, who said seeing his eldest son settle in was a "proud moment" and a bit of a homecoming for him too.
"Palmy used to be my old stomping ground, I did five years' boarding school in Feilding at [Hato Paora College], and we used to come to Palmy all the time."
His uncle Keith Gray, from Taihape, said Palmerston North was the perfect place for tertiary study.
"It's low-key and slower-paced than Auckland or Wellington, and everyone knows who the students are and what they're up to, so it's good for them and the community."
Massey University Students' Association (Musa) president Steve Christodoulou said Orientation week celebrations, which start tomorrow, are a way to welcome new students and their families.
"This week is a great opportunity for students to make connections with Palmerston North, with Massey and with life-long friends."
Mr Christodoulou was in Egmont Hall in 2010 and the time he spent living on campus still holds fond memories.
"I think it's a great way to meet people; 75 per cent of the reason you come to university is for the experience and the other 25 per cent is for the study.
"For me I came to Palmerston North because it's got so many other things going for it, you know, it's got accessibility, it's a great place to be, and it's family-orientated."
Massey's O week events include a barbecue lunch tomorrow and seminars on moving to a new city, achieving academic success, team-building events and inter-hall competitions, like volleyball and a quiz night.
Musa-organised O week events include a toga party on Saturday, the Bizarre Ball on March 1, and concludes with a beach party on March 2.