South Island

South Island

Infobox Islands
name = South Island
Māori: Te Wai Pounamu

image caption = Satellite view of the South Island
image size =
Location map|New Zealand|lat=-43.983333|long=170.45|marksize=16
map_custom = yes
native name =
native name link =
nickname = The Mainland
location = New Zealand
coordinates =
archipelago =
total islands =
major islands =
area = 151,215 km² (58,093 m²)
rank = 12th
highest mount = Aoraki/Mount Cook
elevation = 3,754 m (12,316 ft)
country = New Zealand
country admin divisions title =
country admin divisions =
country admin divisions title 1 =
country admin divisions 1 =
country admin divisions title 2 =
country admin divisions 2 =
country capital city =
country largest city = Christchurch
country largest city population = 414,000
country leader title =
country leader name =
population = 1,008,400
population as of = 30 June 2007
density = 6.7 per km²
ethnic groups = European, Māori
additional info =
The South Island is the larger of the two major islands of New Zealand, the other being the more populous North Island. The Māori name for the South Island, "Te Wai Pounamu", meaning "The Water/s of Greenstone" (greenstone being jade), possibly evolved from "Te Wāhi Pounamu" which means "The Place Of Greenstone". The island is also known as Te Waka a Māui which means "Māui's Canoe". ["The South Island" takes the definite article when used as a noun whereas maps, headings or tables and adjectival expressions use "South Island". This pattern can be found in a number of other names, such as "the United Kingdom", "the Vatican" and "the Internet".

* My mother lives in the South Island
* The North Island is smaller in area than the South Island
* I'm visiting the South Island
* The major South Island peaks are all in the Southern Alps

Note also that places are said to be "in" the South Island rather than "on" the South Island.]

The South Island is often called "the Mainland". Today this expression is used humorously, although still with pride by "Mainlanders", since while it is a somewhat larger landmass than the North Island, only about a quarter of New Zealand's four million inhabitants live in the South Island. However, in the early stages of European (Pākehā) settlement of the country, the South Island was pre-eminent, with the majority of the European population and wealth focussed there due to gold rushes. It was not until the early 20th century that the North Island population overtook the South, with 56% of the population living in the North in 1911. [cite book | first = Michael | last = King | authorlink = Michael King | title = The Penguin History of New Zealand | location = Auckland | publisher = Penguin Books | year = 2003 | isbn = 0143018671 | url = | pages = 280-281 ] In Māori legend, the South Island existed first, as the boat of Maui, while the North Island was the fish that he caught. However, the South Island has never been the main site of Māori population.


Early inhabitants of the South Island were the Waitaha. They were largely absorbed via marriage and conquest by the Kāti Mamoe in the 1500s.Fact|date=April 2008

Ngāti Mamoe were in turn largely absorbed via marriage and conquest by the Ngāi Tahu who migrated south in the seventeenth century. [cite book | author=Michael King | title=The Penguin History of New Zealand | year= 2003 | isbn=0-14-301867-1 | pages=p 90 | publisher= Penguin Books ] While today there is no distinct Ngati Mamoe organisation, many Ngai Tahu have Ngati Mamoe links in their whakapapa and, especially in the far south of the island.

Around the same time a group of Māori migrated to "Rekohu" (the Chatham Islands), where, by adapting to the local climate and the availability of resources, they developed a culture known as Moriori — related to but distinct from Māori culture in mainland New Zealand. A notable feature of the Moriori culture, an emphasis on pacifism, proved disadvantageous when Māori warriors arrived in the 1830s aboard a chartered European ship. [ [ Moriori - The impact of new arrivals - "Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand"] ]

The first Europeans known to reach the South Island were the crew of Dutch explorer Abel Tasman who arrived in his ships "Heemskerck" and "Zeehaen". Tasman anchored in Golden Bay, at the northern end of the island, (he named it Murderers Bay) in December 1642 and sailed northward to Tonga following a clash with local Māori. Tasman sketched sections of the two main islands' west coasts. Tasman called them "Staten Landt", after the "States-General of the Netherlands", and that name appeared on his first maps of the country. Dutch cartographers changed the name to "Nova Zeelandia" in Latin, from "Nieuw Zeeland", after the Dutch province of "Zeeland". It was subsequently Anglicised as "New Zealand" by British naval captain James Cook of HM Bark "Endeavour" who visited the islands more than 100 years after Tasman during (1769–1770).

In the early 18th century, Ngāi Tahu a Māori tribe who originated on the east coast of the North Island began migrating to the northern part of the South Island. There they and Kāti Mamoe fought Ngāi Tara and Rangitāne in the Wairau Valley. Ngāti Māmoe then ceded the east coast regions north of the Clarence River to Ngāi Tahu. Ngāi Tahu continued to push south, conquering Kaikoura. By the 1730s, Ngāi Tahu had settled in Canterbury, including Banks Peninsula. From there they spread further south and into the West Coast.

In 1827-1828 Ngāti Toa under the leadership of Te Rauparaha successfully attacked Ngāi Tahu at Kaikoura. Ngāti Toa then visited Kaiapoi, obstensibly to trade. When they attacked their hosts, the well-prepared Ngāi Tahu killed all the leading Ngāti Toa chiefs except Te Rauparaha. Te Rauparaha returned to his Kapiti Island stronghold. In November 1830 Te Rauparaha persuaded Captain John Stewart of the brig "Elizabeth" to carry him and his warriors in secret to Akaroa, where by subterfuge they captured the leading Ngāi Tahu chief, Te Maiharanui, and his wife and daughter. After destroying Te Maiharanui's village they took their captives to Kapiti and killed them. John Stewart, though arrested and sent to trial in Sydney as an accomplice to murder, nevertheless escaped conviction.Citation
last =Tau
first =Te Maire
contribution =Ngāi Tahu
year =
title =Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand
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In the summer of 1831-1832 Te Rauparaha attacked the Kaiapoi (fortified village). After a three-month siege, a fire in the pā allowed Ngāti Toa to overcome it. They then attacked Ngāi Tahu on Banks Peninsula and took the pā at Onawe. In 1832-33 Ngāi Tahu retaliated under the leadership of Tuhawaiki and others, attacking Ngāti Toa at Lake Grassmere. Ngāi Tahu prevailed, and killed many Ngāti Toa, although Te Rauparaha again escaped. Fighting continued for a year or so, with Ngāi Tahu maintaining the upper hand. Ngāti Toa never again made a major incursion into Ngāi Tahu territory.

By 1839 Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Toa established peace and Te Rauparaha released the Ngāi Tahu captives he held. Formal marriages between the leading families in the two tribes sealed the peace.

On June 17, 1843, Māori natives and the British settlers clashed at Wairau in what became known as the Wairau Affray. Also known as the Wairau Massacre in most older texts, it was the first serious clash of arms between the two parties after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and the only one to take place in the South Island. Four Māori died and three were wounded in the incident, while among the Europeans the toll was 22 dead and five wounded. Twelve of the Europeans were shot dead or clubbed to death after surrendering to Māori who were pursuing them.cite book | author=Michael King | title=The Penguin History of New Zealand | year= 2003 | id=ISBN 0-14-301867-1 | publisher= Penguin Books]

In the 1870s and 1880s, several thousand Chinese men, mostly from the Guangdong province, migrated to New Zealand to work on the South Island goldfields. Although the first Chinese migrants had been invited by the Otago Provincial government they quickly became the target of hostility from white settlers and laws were enacted specifically to discourage them from coming to New Zealand. [Manying Ip. 'Chinese', Te Ara—the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 21-Dec-2006,]

In the 19th century, some maps named the South Island as "Middle Island" or "New Munster", and the name "South Island" or "New Leinster" was used for today's Stewart Island/Rakiura.

In 1907 the Minister for Lands gave instructions to the Land and Survey Department that the name Middle Island was not to be used in future. "South Island will be adhered to in all cases". [cite news|publisher=Taranaki Herald|date=30 July 1907|page=4|url=|title=The Waitara Harbour Bill]


The South Island is guaranteed 16 of the 69 electorates in the New Zealand House of Representatives. In addition, 10 list MPs are based in the South Island, including the current Deputy Prime Minister.

Local Government Regions

There are seven local government regions covering the South Island and all its adjacent islands and territorial waters. Four are governed by an elected regional council, while three are governed by territorial authorities (the second tier of local government) which also perform the functions of a regional council and thus are known as unitary authorities. There is one exception to this, Nelson City, is governed by an individual Territorial authority to its region (Tasman Region). The Chatham Islands Council is often counted by many as a unitary authority, but it is officially recognised as a part of the region of Canterbury.
* Canterbury
* Marlborough
* Nelson
* Otago
* Southland
* Tasman
* West Coast

Territorial Authorities

There are 25 territorial authorities within the South Island: 4 city councils, 20 district councils and the Chatham Islands Council. Four territorial authorities (Nelson City Council, Tasman and Marlborough District Councils and the Chatham Islands Council) also perform the functions of a regional council and thus are known as unitary authorities.

* Tasman District Council (unitary authority)
* Nelson City Council (unitary authority)
* Marlborough District Council (unitary authority)
* West Coast Regional Council
** Buller District Council
** Grey District Council
** Westland District Council
* Canterbury Regional Council (Environment Canterbury)
** Kaikoura District Council
** Hurunui District Council
** Selwyn District Council
** Waimakariri District Council
** Christchurch City Council
** Ashburton District Council
** Mackenzie District Council
** Timaru District Council
** Waitaki District Council (part)
** Waimate District Council
* Otago Regional Council
** Queenstown Lakes District Council
** Central Otago District Council
** Waitaki District Council (part)
** Dunedin City Council
** Clutha District Council
* Southland Regional Council (Environment Southland)
** Southland District Council
** Gore District Council
** Invercargill City Council
* Stewart Island/Rakiura
** Southland Regional Council (Environment Southland)
* Chatham Islands
** Chatham Islands Council (district)

Political Parties

This is a list of Political Parties, past and present, who have their headquarters in the South Island.
*Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party
*Imperial British Conservative Party
*National Democrats Party
*New Zealand Democratic Party
*New Zealand Progressive Party
*South Island Party
*South Island Party (2008)



Compared to the more populated and multi-ethnic North Island, the South Island has a smaller, more homogeneous resident population of 1,008,400. [ [ South Island population reaches one million: Subnational Population Estimates at 30 June 2007] , Statistics New Zealand.] At the 2001 Census, over 91 percent of people in the South Island said they belong to the European ethnic group, compared with 80.1 percent for all of New Zealand [Statistics New Zealand [] ] .


The South Island had an estimated sub-national GDP of US$27.8 billion (as of 2003) [] .

The main industry groups within the South Island are manufacturing, agriculture, mining, construction, electricity, gas and water supply, education, health and community services.

Trade Unions

There are several South Island based trade union organisations. They are:

* Furniture, Manufacturing & Associated Workers Union
* New Zealand Building Trades Union
* New Zealand Meat & Related Trades Workers Union
* Southern Amalgamated Workers' Union


The main tourism destinations of the South Island are;
*Nelson and Tasman District
*West Coast
*Hanmer Springs
*Christchurch and Canterbury
*Southland Region and Stewart Island/Rakiura
*Queenstown, Wanaka and Central Otago

ki areas and Resorts

This is a list of ski areas and resorts in the South Island where the public can pay to ski.

Nelson Lakes

*Mount Robert


*Fox Peak (club skifield)
*Hanmer Springs Ski Area (club skifield)
*Mount Lyford
*Mount Potts (heliskiing and snowcatting only)
*Mount Hutt
*Mount Dobson
*Porter Heights
*Tasman Glacier (Heliski)
*Temple Basin (club skifield)
*Craigieburn Range
**Broken River (club skifield)
**Craigieburn Valley (club skifield)
**Mount Cheeseman (club skifield)
**Mount Olympus (club skifield)


*Coronet Peak
*Invincible Snowfields (helicopter access only)
*The Remarkables
*Round Hill
*Around Wanaka
**Cardrona Alpine Resort
**Treble Cone
**Snow Park
**Snow Farm (cross-country skiing only)


Road Transport

The South Island has a State Highway network of 4,921 km.

Rail Transport

: "See also: List of New Zealand railway lines, Rail transport in New Zealand."

The South Island's railway network has two main lines, two secondary lines, and a few branch lines. The Main North Line from Picton to Christchurch and the Main South Line from Lyttelton to Invercargill via Dunedin together comprise the South Island Main Trunk Railway. The secondary Midland Line branches from the Main South Line in Rolleston and passes through the Southern Alps via the Otira Tunnel to the West Coast and its terminus in Greymouth. In Stillwater, it meets the other secondary route, the Stillwater - Westport Line, which now includes the Ngakawau Branch. A number of other secondary routes are now closed, including the Otago Central Railway, the isolated Nelson Section, and the interdependent Waimea Plains Railway and Kingston Branch. An expansive network of branch lines once existed, especially in Canterbury, Otago, and Southland, but these are now almost completely closed. The branch lines that remain in operation serve ports (Bluff Branch and Port Chalmers Branch), coal mines (Ohai Branch and Rapahoe Branch), and a dairying factory (Hokitika Branch). The first 64 km of the Otago Central Railway remain in operation for tourist trains run by the Taieri Gorge Railway (TGR). The most significant freight is coal from West Coast mines to the port of Lyttelton for export.

Passenger services were once extensive. Commuter trains operated multiple routes around Christchurch and Dunedin, plus a service between Invercargill and Bluff. Due to substantial losses, these were cancelled between the late 1960s and early 1980s. The final services to operate ran between Dunedin and Mosgiel, and they ceased in 1982. [Tony Hurst, "Farewell to Steam: Four Decades of Change on New Zealand Railways" (Auckland: HarperCollins, 1995), 96.] Regional passenger trains were once extensive, but are now limited to the TranzCoastal from Christchurch to Picton and the TranzAlpine from Christchurch to Greymouth. The Southerner between Christchurch and Invercargill, once the flagship of the network, was cancelled on 10 February 2002. Subsequently, the architecturally significant Dunedin Railway Station has been used solely by the TGR's tourist trains, the Taieri Gorge Limited along the Otago Central Railway and the Seasider to Palmerston. Rural passenger services on branch lines were provided by mixed trains and Vulcan/88 seater railcars but the mixeds had largely ceased to exist by the 1950s and the railcars were withdrawn in the mid-1970s.

The South Island saw the final use of steam locomotives in New Zealand. Locomotives belonging to classes long withdrawn elsewhere continued to operate on West Coast branches until the very late 1960s, when they were displaced by DJ class diesels. In comparison to most countries, where steam locomotives were last used on insubstantial rural and industrial operations, the very last services run by steam locomotives were the premier expresses between Christchurch and Invercargill: the South Island Limited until 1970 and the Friday and Sunday night services until 1971. This was due to the carriages being steam-heated. The final steam-hauled service in New Zealand, headed by a member of the JA class, ran on 26 October 1971. [David Leitch, "Steam, Steel and Splendour" (Auckland: HarperCollins, 1994), 89.]

Water Transport

The South Island is separated from the North Island by Cook Strait, 24 km wide at its narrowest point, but requiring a 70 km ferry trip to cross.

Ports and harbours

*Container ports: Lyttelton (Christchurch), Port Chalmers (Dunedin)
*Other ports: Nelson, Picton, Westport, Greymouth, Timaru, Bluff.
*Harbours: Akaroa, Otago Harbour, Half Moon Bay (Stewart Island/Rakiura), Milford Sound.
*Freshwater: Queenstown and Kingston (Lake Wakatipu), Te Anau and Manapouri (Lake Manapouri)

Air Transport

outh Island Airports


The South Island with an area of 151,215 km² (58,093 square miles) is the largest land mass of New Zealand, it contains about one quarter of the New Zealand population and is the world's 12th-largest island. It is divided along its length by the Southern Alps, the highest peak of which is Aoraki/Mount Cook at 3754 metres (12,316 ft). There are eighteen peaks of more than 3000 metres (9800 ft) in the South Island. The east side of the island is home to the Canterbury Plains while the West Coast is famous for its rough coastlines, very high proportion of native bush, and Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers.


The climate in the South Island is mostly temperate. The Mean temperature for the South Island is 8 °C (46 °F). [From NIWA Science [ climate overview] .] January and February are the warmest months while July is the coldest.

Most areas have between 600 and 1600 mm of rainfall with the most rain along the West Coast and the least rain on the East Coast, predominantly on the Canterbury Plains. Christchurch is the driest city receiving about 640 mm (25 in) of rain per year.

There are three main factors that influence New Zealand's climate: [Statistics New Zealand [] page.]
* Its latitude zone location where the prevailing winds flow westerly.
* Its oceanic environment.
* The mountains, especially the Southern Alps.


National Parks

* Abel Tasman National Park
* Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
* Fiordland National Park
* Kahurangi National Park
* Mount Aspiring National Park
* Nelson Lakes National Park
* Paparoa National Park
* Rakiura National Park
* Westland National Park

Other Native Reserves and Parks
* Hakatere Conservation Park [ [ Hakatere Conservation Park] , Department of Conservation website, retrieved 21 January 2008.]

Geographic Features

* Arthur's Pass
* Banks Peninsula
* Catlins
* Doubtful Sound
* Farewell Spit
* Haast Pass
* Mackenzie Basin
* Marlborough Sounds
* Milford Sound
* Southern AlpsGlaciers:
* Fox Glacier
* Franz Josef GlacierRivers:
* Hokitika River





The South Island has several tertiary level institutions:
* Aoraki Polytechnic
* Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology
* Lincoln University
* Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology
* Otago Polytechnic
* Southern Institute of Technology
* Tai Poutini Polytechnic
* Telford Rural Polytechnic
* University of Canterbury
* University of Otago


Healthcare in the South Island is provided by six District Health Boards (DHBs). Organized around geographical areas, of varying population sizes, they are not coterminous with the Local Government Regions.

* Canterbury DHB
* Nelson Marlborough DHB
* Otago DHB
* South Canterbury DHB
* Southland DHB
* West Coast DHB



*Ashburton Guardian
*The Marlborough Express
*The Nelson Mail
*Otago Daily Times
*The Press
* [ Southland Times]
*The Timaru Herald


*45 South
*Canterbury Television
*Channel 9
*CUE (Southland TV)


Nelson Stations

Current Stations
*Fresh FM
*Impact 100
*Mainland FM
*Radio Robot

Previous Stations
*Cadbury Moro FM
*Fifeshire FM - Rebranded as More FM
*Radio Nelson - Rebranded as Classic Hits 89.8 & 90.4FM
*The Planet 97FM - Replaced with ZM

West Coast Stations

Current Stations
*Coast FM - (no connection to Coast Radio Network.
*Z102 102.5FM

Previous Stations
*Radio Scenicland and later Scenicland FM - Rebranded as Classic Hits Scenicland FM.

Canterbury Stations

Current Stations
*91ZM - Operates local daytime show all other shows from the ZM network. Originally local until 2001.
*Country 88FM
*Newstalk ZB - Local breakfast and morning show all other shows from Newstalk ZB network.
*Plains 96.9FM
*Port FM (Timaru)
*Pulzar FM
*Radio Ferrymead

Previous Stations
*3ZB - Rebranded as Newstalk ZB
*3ZE (Ashburton) - Rebranded as Classic Hits 92.5 ZEFM
*Channel Z - Operated local Channel Z station until 2001 when station was replaced with Auckland based network product.
*Fox FM (Ashburton) - Rebranded as Port FM
*99 Life FM - Original Life FM station
*B98 FM - Rebranded as Classic Hits B98 and later Classic Hits 97.7
*Lite FM - Rebranded as The Breeze
*Radio Avon and later C93FM
*Radio Caroline (Timaru) - Rebranded as Classic Hits 99FM
*Blush 96.1 - Christchurch NZBS "Live Sexy"

Dunedin and East Otago Stations

Current Stations
*Big River Radio (Balclutha)
*Country Radio 88.7
*GoldRush1440 (Lawrence)
*Hills AM
*Radio Clutha (Balclutha)
*Radio Dunedin
*Radio One
*RushFM (Lawrence)Previous Stations
*4XO - Rebranded as More FM
*4ZB and later ZBFM - Rebranded as Classic Hits 89FM
*Radio Waitaki (Oamaru) - Rebranded as Classic Hits Radio Waitaki
*Whitestone FM (Oamaru) - Rebranded as Port FM

Queenstown and Central Otago Stations

Current Stations
*96.7 Blue Skies FM (Alexandra)
*Burn 729AM (Ranfurly)
*The Studio FM (Queenstown)
*Radio Wanaka (Wanaka)

Previous Stations
*Radio Central (Alexandra) - Rebranded as More FM
*Resort Radio (Queenstown) - Rebranded as More FM
*Q92 (Queenstown) - Rebranded as Q92 The Breeze

outhland Stations

Current Stations
*Country Radio 88.4
*Hokonui Gold
*Radio Southland 96.4

Previous Stations
*4ZA - Rebranded as Classic Hits 98.8 ZAFM
*Foveaux FM - Rebranded as More FM
*eFM - Southern Institute of Technology student radio station that operated in 2001.


A number of national or international sporting teams and events are based in the South Island, including:
* Basketball: Canterbury Rams, Christchurch Sirens, Nelson Giants and the Otago Nuggets.
* Ice hockey: Canterbury Red Devils, Dunedin Thunder, Southern Stampede.
* Netball: Canterbury Tactix and the Southern Steel.
* Soccer: Canterbury United, Otago United.
* Rugby league: Canterbury Bulls
* Rugby union: Crusaders, Highlanders, Tasman Makos, Southland Stags, West Coast, Buller, South Canterbury, North Otago

International events hosted in the South Island include the "National Basketball League", the "ANZ Championship" netball competition and the "Super 14" rugby union competition.

The Arts

Art Galleries

*Centre of Contemporary Art
*Christchurch Arts Centre
*Dunedin Public Art Gallery


*Canterbury Museum
*Ferrymead Heritage Park
*Nelson Provincial Museum []
*Otago Museum
*Otago Settlers Museum
*Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum
*Southland museum and art gallery
*World of Wearable Art

Film location

Several movies have been filmed (in large part) in the South Island, including the "Lord of the Rings" and 2005's "".

See also

* Flag concepts for the South Island
* List of twin towns and sister cities in the South Island
* Military of the South Island
* New Munster
* South Island Independence

External links

* [ South Island Road Map]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • South Island — S island of the two main islands of New Zealand: 58,384 sq mi (151,214 sq km); pop. 882,000 …   English World dictionary

  • South Island —   [ saʊθ aɪlənd], die Südinsel Neuseelands …   Universal-Lexikon

  • South Island — the largest island of New Zealand. 860,990; 58,093 sq. mi. (150,460 sq. km). * * * Island (pop., 2001 prelim.: 942,213), larger and southernmost of the two principal islands of New Zealand. Separated from the North Island by Cook Strait, it has… …   Universalium

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  • South Island — Île du Sud Île du Sud South Island (en) Vue satellitaire de l île 23 octobre 2002 Géographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • South Island — South′ Is′land n. geg the largest island of New Zealand. 863,603; 57,843 sq. mi. (149,813 sq. km) …   From formal English to slang

  • South Island — South Is|land one of the two main islands of New Zealand, whose main towns are Christchurch and Dunedin. It is important for sheep farming and the growing of ↑wheat …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • South Island — /ˈsaʊθ aɪlənd/ (say sowth uyluhnd) noun the largest island of NZ, separated from the North Island by Cook Strait. About 150 460 km2 …   Australian English dictionary

  • South Island — noun the larger but less populous of two main islands of New Zealand; separated from North Island by Cook Strait • Instance Hypernyms: ↑island • Part Holonyms: ↑New Zealand, ↑New Zealand Islands …   Useful english dictionary

  • South Island — geographical name island S New Zealand area 59,439 square miles (153,947 square kilometers), population 881,537 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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