May is under way with a rip and a roar. Palmy's post-lockdown recovery continues as business and social activity returns to normal levels, and I've been impressed by the purpose and bustle around the city.
This week Massey University's public graduation returns following the cancellation of last May's ceremonies due to Covid-19 restrictions.
It's great to see graduates and their families, with gowns flowing and balloons flying, back in the Regent on Broadway and on Te Marae o Hine enjoying the full ceremonial that celebrates Palmy as a university city.
Graduation coincides with AgriFood Week - five days of events, forums and discussions involving farmers, scientists, and food sector innovators. Based here in New Zealand's food innovation capital, the week is all about the future of food, including the Beef and Lamb NZ AgInnovation conference.
With the no vacancy signs up, accommodation providers are no doubt rejoicing at the increase in patrons drawn here for these events.
The three-day New Zealand Land Treatment Collective conference is also on this week, with a high-powered coterie of scientists, consultants and delegates here from around the country.
Carried over from last year because of Covid, this conference is significant given our own proposed Nature Calls project to mitigate the effects of city wastewater on the Manawatū River.
A wealth of information and the opportunity to make public comment about the selected Nature Calls options are on the council website, with submissions closing this Sunday.
Nature Calls is the single most expensive project the council has planned for the next decade, and is at the core of our proposed 10-Year Plan. Information and submission opportunities can be found on the pncc.govt.nz website, and we welcome your feedback until Friday, May 14.
Other conference events have included last week's WorkSafe Keeping All Workers Safe Symposium, and the commemoration of International Workers' Day at Memorial Park.
Also in April was the New Zealand Indian Central Association's 95th Conference and inaugural Gala Awards.
We officially opened the new entrance plaza, pedestrian bridge, seating and pit area enhancing Central Energy Trust Arena – one of the first projects under way when national lockdown was lifted at the end of April last year.
These kind of events and activities not only provide a boost to city business and local pride, but also raise our national profile.
Today, Thursday, is our first city citizenship ceremony since Covid, with nearly 100 new citizens taking their oath and becoming Kiwis.
There's also the presentation of the annual Duke of Edinburgh awards, while a fundraising ball and auction at Awapuni Racecourse on Saturday supports our first responders - police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, St John and the rescue helicopter.
Later this month as Palmy's 150th jubilee year continues, we can look forward to the Manawatū International Jazz & Blues Festival, which opens on May 28 and runs until Queen's Birthday Monday on June 7.
Palmy is truly abuzz and booming - even if metro New Zealand remains unaware.
Kia kaha. Keep a wary eye on the Covid-o-meter and stay safe.
+ Grant Smith is the mayor of Palmerston North.