About Fergusson Hall

Location, location, location

Situated on some of Manawatu’s prime real estate, Fergusson Hall offers 82 self-catering positions for first year and returning Massey students. Accommodation is also available over the summer from mid-November through to mid-February for individuals and conference groups with the help of. Fergusson Hall is located at 150 Atawhai Road, Palmerston North, and is right next to Massey University. The centre of Massey’s Manawatu campus is a 10-minute walk away, making it easy to pop back between lectures or for lunch. Our residents enjoy living so close to Massey without being right on campus.

Park-like grounds

Spacious grounds, gardens and native bush surround the hall and provide areas for sporting and social events. The field in front of the house is used for team sports and other Hall competitions. Near this field there is a sand volleyball court that gets used regularly and a basketball hoop. A number of picnic tables around the grounds provide places for outdoor relaxation. The grounds and gardens are well maintained and provide spaces to enjoy the outdoors. The cycle track to Massey provides an alternative route if you want to bike or take a more leisurely walk to the University.

Supportive staff

The Heads of Hall, Mike and Shelly Butcher, work with four senior student Residential Assistants (RA’s) to make Fergusson Hall an outstanding Hall of Residence. This leadership team is supported by other permanent and casual staff, including Stu (Maintenance and IT), Queta (Housekeeper), and Lois (Office Administration), who all help make Ferg run smoothly. They do this by: ~ Ensuring the Hall is a safe place to live with the facilities residents need. ~ Fostering an exciting community with many fun events throughout the year. ~ Encouraging academic success through attractive spaces to study, computer facilities and academic support initiatives. ~ Providing care and support when it is needed from the practical through to the personal. Mike and Shelly live on site with their four daughters. The Hall is owned by a charitable trust called the Presbyterian Educational Purposes Trust. Our RA’s live in the Hall and are available to assist residents with a wide range of needs from practical requests such as signing up for wireless internet to assisting with personal concerns. RA’s also play an active role in organising events to build the Hall community and make Ferg an enjoyable place to be.

Supportive environment

Fergusson Hall aims to be your “home away from home” while you are studying at Massey Manawatu. One of the great things about living at Ferg is that there are people you can turn to if you’re looking for advice or support, whether it be academic or personal. Mike, Shelly and the RAs are here to help you deal with any issues that arise and if they are unable to help they will know who can. We also have residents from all walks of life and hearing their experiences will no doubt have an impact on the type of person you will become during your student years. Various ‘Interest groups’ form at the start of the year and usually include a communal gardening group, faith discussion group, tramping group, board games group and a baking group.


The self-catering aspect draws a lot of people to the Hall. You save money by doing your own cooking and the best part is that you get to make what you want to eat, when you want it. Some students team up in cooking groups to share the cost and effort. You will need to provide your own cooking and dining equipment, and of course be willing to clean up after yourself.

History Of Fergusson Hall


Originally known as Atawhai House, Fergusson Hall was once the residence of the Keiller family. They first settled in Bulls and later moved to the high ground above Palmerston North, in the sheltered Tiritea stream basin, the eventual home of Massey University. There were four other similar homesteads that have since been absorbed by the university. The two world wars had a significant impact on the lifestyles of wealthy families and many were no longer able to continue possession of the buildings they once treasured. The survival of Atawhai House was thanks to a fortuitous meeting between Mr John McCaw, and the Rev Ian Purdie.  Mr McCaw, a real estate agent, received a call from Mr Keiller who wanted to sell his 32-acre property. At the time the house was so large that it was thought to be unsellable, except perhaps as an institution. However, in a cheeky suggestion to his next client, McCaw suggested that Mr Purdie should buy it as a weekend cottage. Instead, Mr Purdie felt that the Presbyterian Church should buy it and turn it into a hostel for Massey College students.  Subsequently, the Presbyterian Educational Purposes Trust was formed in August 1962.  The rest of that year and the following were taken up with fundraising, so that by the end of 1963 they had raised the necessary £40,000 to purchase the property. The Hall was renamed after the Governor General of the day, Sir Bernard Fergusson. He also performed the opening ceremony for the Hall on February 4th 1964, with a roll of 45 students. In his opening speech Sir Bernard Fergusson summed up the motivation for the creation of Fergusson Hall when he said it would turn university students into “residents”. The Hall has also continued to grow, with the Trust adding three ten-bed residential villas and laundry in 1970, a Manager’s residence in 1973 and a fourth residential villa in 1983. Fergusson Hall’s founders had a vision for this beautiful property, and this vision has been enjoyed by thousands of Massey University students. They have had the opportunity to live and study on an idyllic site which has stunning views of both Palmerston North and the surrounding Manawatū, experiencing something not many students have the chance to. Fergusson Hall is located at 150 Atawhai Road, Palmerston North, and is right next to Massey University. The centre of Massey’s Manawatu campus is a 10-minute walk away, making it easy to pop back between lectures or for lunch. Our residents enjoy living so close to Massey without being right on campus.