South Island (Māori:
Te Wai Pounamu) is the larger of the
two major islands of New Zealand, the other being the more populous North Island. It is bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea, to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean.
The territory of the South Island covers
and is influenced by a temperate
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 focused 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.
Early inhabitants of the South Island were the Waitaha
. They were largely absorbed via marriage and
conquest by the Kāti Mamoe
Ngāti Mamoe were in turn largely absorbed via marriage and conquest
by the Ngāi Tahu
who migrated south
in the seventeenth century. While today there is no distinct Ngati
Mamoe organisation, many Ngai Tahu have Ngati Mamoe links in their
and, especially in the far south
of the island.
same time a group of Māori migrated to Rekohu (the
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.
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
, after the States-General of the
, 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
It was subsequently Anglicised as New Zealand
naval captain James Cook
of HM Bark Endeavour
the islands more than 100
years after Tasman during (1769–1770).
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
In 1827-1828 Ngāti Toa
leadership of Te Rauparaha
attacked Ngāi Tahu at Kaikoura. Ngāti Toa then visited Kaiapoi, ostensibly 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.
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
then attacked Ngāi Tahu on Banks Peninsula and took the pā at Onawe.
1832-33 Ngāi Tahu retaliated under the leadership of Tuhawaiki and others, attacking Ngāti Toa at
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 17 June 1843, Māori
natives and the
British settlers clashed at Wairau
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
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
government they quickly became the target of hostility from white
settlers and laws were enacted specifically to discourage them from
coming to New Zealand.
Naming and usage
Although the island has been known as the South Island for many
years, the New Zealand Geographic Board has found that, along with
the North Island, it has no official name. The board intends to
make South Island
the island's official name, along with
an alternative Māori name. Although several Māori names have been
used, Maori Language
Erima Henare sees Te
as the most likely choice. This Māori
name for the South Island, meaning "The
Water(s) of Greenstone
", 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". In Māori legend
the South Island existed first, as the boat of Maui, while the
North Island was the fish that he caught.
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
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".
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
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.
Government & Politics
The South Island has no separately represented subnational entity
and is guaranteed 16
of the 69 electorates
New Zealand House
. A two-tier structure constituted under the
gives the South Island seven regional councils
administration of regional environmental and transport matters and
25 territorial authorities that administer roads, sewerage,
building consents, and other local matters. Four of the territorial
councils (one city and three districts) also perform the functions
of a regional council
known as unitary
Zealand was separated from the colony of New South
Wales in 1841 and established as a Crown colony in its own right, the Royal Charter effecting this provided that
"the principal Islands, heretofore known as, or commonly called,
the 'Northern Island', the 'Middle Island', and 'Stewart's Island',
shall henceforward be designated and known respectively as
'New Ulster', 'New
Munster', and 'New
Leinster'". These divisions were at first of
geographical significance only, not used as a basis for the
government of the colony, which was centralised in Auckland. New Munster consisted of the South Island
and the southern portion of the North Island, up to the mouth of the Patea River.
The name New Munster was given by the
Governor of New
, Captain William Hobson
in honour of Munster
, the Irish province in
which he was born.
The situation was altered in 1846 when the New Zealand Constitution Act
divided the colony into two provinces
: New Ulster (the North
Island), and New Munster (the South Island and Stewart Island).
Each province had a Governor and Legislative and Executive Council,
in addition to the Governor-in-Chief and Legislative and Executive
Council for the whole colony. However, the 1846 Constitution Act
was later suspended, and only the Provincial government provisions
were implemented. Early in 1848 Edward
was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of New Munster. In
1851 the Provincial Legislative Councils were permitted to be
Provincial Council of New Munster had only one legislative session,
in 1849, before it succumbed to the virulent attacks of settlers
Governor Sir George
, sensible to the pressures, inspired an ordinance of the
General Legislative Council under which new Legislative Councils
would be established in each province with two-thirds of their
members elected on a generous franchise. Grey implemented the
ordinance with such deliberation that neither Council met before
advice was received that the United Kingdom Parliament had passed
the New Zealand
Constitution Act 1852
This act dissolved these provinces in 1853, after only seven years'
existence, and New Munster was divided into the provinces of
, and Otago
. Each province had its own legislature
known as a Provincial Council that elected its own Speaker and
Secession movements have surfaced several times in the South
Island. A Premier of New
, Sir Julius Vogel
amongst the first people to make this call, which was voted on by
the Parliament of New
as early as 1865. The desire for South Island Independence was one
of the main factors in moving the capital of New Zealand from
Auckland to Wellington that year.
The South Island Party
pro-South agenda, fielded candidates in the 1999 General Election
a new South Island Party
was formed before the 2008 General Election
Today, several internet based groups advocate their support for
greater self determination
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
, while three are governed by territorial
(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
counted by many as a unitary authority, but it is officially
recognised as a part of the region of Canterbury.
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
This is a list of Political parties, past and present, who have
their headquarters in the South Island.
Dunedin Central Police station
The New Zealand Police
primary law enforcement
of New Zealand including the South Island. Three
Police Districts cover
the entire South Island with each being commanded by a Superintendent
and having a central
station from which subsidiary and suburban stations are managed.
The Christchurch Police Communications Centre handles all emergency
and general calls within the South Island.
The Tasman Police District covers 70,000 kilometres of territory,
encompassing the northern and most of the western portion of the
South Island. The West Coast alone spans the distance
between Wellington and Auckland.
There are 22 police stations in the Tasman
District, with 6 being sole-charge - or one-person - stations. The
Tasman Police District has a total of 302 sworn police officers and
57 civilian or nonsworn staff. Organisationally, the district has its
headquarters in Nelson and has three distinct Areas each headed by an
Inspector as its commander.
Bays, West Coast and Marlborough.
Canterbury Police District is based in Christchurch the largest city in the South Island and covers an
area extending from the Conway River, (just south of Kaikoura), to the Waitaki River, south of Timaru.
Southern Police District with its headquarters in Dunedin spans from Oamaru in the
North through to Stewart
Island in the far South covers the largest geographical
area of any of the 12 police districts in New Zealand.
Correctional facilities in the South Island are operated by the
as part of the South Island Prison Region.
- Christchurch Prison, also known as Paparua,
is located in Templeton a satellite town of Christchurch. It accommodates up to 780 minimum, medium
and high security male prisoners. It was built in 1925, and also
includes a youth unit, a self-care unit and the Paparua Remand
Centre (PRC), built in 1999 to replace the old Addington
- Christchurch Women's Prison, also located in
Templeton, is a facility for women of all security
classifications. It has the only maximum/medium security
accommodation for women prisoners in New Zealand. It can
accommodate up to 98 prisoners.
- Invercargill Prison, in Invercargill, accommodates up to 172 minimum to low-medium
Corrections Facility is located near Milton and houses up to 335 minimum to high-medium
security male prisoners.
- Rolleston prison is located in Rolleston, another satellite town of Christchurch. It accommodates around 320 male prisoners
of minimum to low-medium security classifications and includes
Kia Marama a sixty-bed unit that provides an intensive 9
month treatment programme for male child sex offenders.
New Zealand Customs
Service whose role is to provide border control and protect the community from
potential risks arising from international trade and travel, as well as collecting duties and taxes on imports to the
country has offices at Christchurch
International Airport, Dunedin, Invercargill, Lyttelton and Nelson.
Compared to the more populated and multi-ethnic North Island, the
South Island has a smaller, more homogeneous resident population of
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 .
The Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter near
The South Island economy is strongly focused on tourism and
like agriculture. The other main industry groups are
manufacturing, mining, construction, energy supply, education,
health and community services.
Substantial electricity generation (both
existing and remaining potential) is located on the South Island,
while the main demand (which is continuing to grow) is in the
northern North Island, particularly the Auckland Region. The South Island has three large
hydroelectric schemes: Waitaki, Clutha, and
The Waitaki River is the largest
hydroelectric scheme, consisting of nine powerhouses commissioned
between 1936 and 1985, and generating approximately 7600 GWh
annually, around 18% of New Zealand's electricity generation and
more than 30% of all its hydroelectricity.The Clutha River has
two major stations generating electricity: Clyde Dam (432 MW, commissioned 1992) and Roxburgh Dam (360 MW, commissioned 1962).
Station is an isolated station located in Southland, generating 730
MW of electricity and producing 4800 GWh annually - the
largest single hydroelectric power station in the country.
The HVDC Inter-Island
(HVDC) system links the North and South Island electricity grids
together. The line connects to the South Island 220 kV
grid at Benmore
Dam in Southern Canterbury, and travels via pylons for to Fighting Bay in
Marlborough. From here, it crosses the Cook Strait via undersea cables for 40 km to Oteranga Bay,
west of Wellington. At Oteranga Bay, the HVDC line converts back
to pylons to cover the last 35 km, with the line terminating
and connecting to the North Island's 220 kV grid at Haywards in
The main reason for a HVDC connection
between the two islands is due to New Zealand's geography and
demographics. The South Island generates 45% of New Zealand's
electricity supply, however 75% of New Zealand's population lives
in the North Island. HVDC was chosen to allow reactive power
to travel between the two
islands, northwards to supply the North Island's high electricity
demands, and southwards to supply the South Island during years of
low hydro levels.
The estimated sub-national GDP of the South Island was US$27.8
billion (as of 2003).
the Gold Rush of the 1870s, the South
Island had regional stock exchanges in Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill – all of which were affiliated in the Stock
Exchange Association of New Zealand.
However, in 1974 these
regional exchanges were amalgamated to form one national stock
exchange, the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZSE). On 30 May, 2003, New
Zealand Stock Exchange Limited formally changed its name to New
Zealand Exchange Limited, trading as NZX.
Today, the Deloitte
South Island Index is
compiled quarterly from publicly available information provided by
NZX, Unlisted and Bloomberg. It is a summary of the movements in
market capitalisation of each South Island based listed company. A
company is included in the Index where either its registered office
and/or a substantial portion of its operations are focused on the
There are several South Island based trade union organisations.
Tourism is a huge export earner for the South Island. Popular
tourist activities in include sightseeing, adventure tourism
(hiking) and camping
. Numerous walking and hiking paths, some of
which, like the Milford Track
huge international recognition.
increase in direct international flights to Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown has boosted the number of overseas
National Park, Abel Tasman National Park, Westland National Park, Mount Cook National Park, Queenstown, Kaikoura and the Marlborough Sounds are regarded as the main tourism destinations in
the South Island and amongst the Top 10 destinations in New Zealand.
Ski areas and resorts
This is a list of ski areas and resorts
in the South Island.
Map showing the route of [State
Highway 6 (New Zealand)
The South Island has a State Highway network of
South Island Rail Network Map
- See also: List
of New Zealand railway lines, Rail transport in New
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
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
, and the
interdependent Waimea Plains
. 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
and Rapahoe Branch
), and a dairying factory
). 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.
passenger trains were once extensive, but are now limited to the
from Christchurch to
Picton and the TranzAlpine
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
/88 seater railcars
but the mixeds had largely ceased to exist
by the 1950s and the railcars were withdrawn in the
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
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
- 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
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
divided along its length by the Southern Alps, the highest peak of which is Aoraki/Mount Cook at 3754 metres
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
Coast is famous for its rough coastlines, very high
proportion of native bush, and Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers.
The dramatic landscape of the South Island
has made it a popular location for the production of several
, including the Lord of the Rings
and the The
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the
in the South Island is mostly
. The Mean
temperature for the South Island is 8 °C
). January and
February are the warmest months while July is the coldest.
Historical maxima and minima are 42.4 °C
(108.3 °F) in Rangiora, Canterbury and −21.6 °C (−6.9 °F) in Ophir, Otago.
Conditions vary sharply across the regions
from extremely wet on the West Coast to semi-arid in the
Mackenzie Basin of inland Canterbury.
Most areas have between 600 and
with the most rain
along the West Coast and the least rain on the East Coast,
predominantly on the Canterbury
. Christchurch is the driest city receiving about 640 mm
(25 in) of rain per year.
southern and south-western parts of South Island have a cooler and
cloudier climate, with around 1400–1600 hours; the northern and
north-eastern parts of the South Island are the sunniest areas and
receive approximately 2400–2500 hours.
Protected Areas of the South Island
There are six Forest Parks in the South Island which are on public
land administered by the Department of Conservation.
- Catlins Forest Park
- Situated in the Southland region.
- Craigieburn Forest
- Situated in the Canterbury region, its boundaries lie in part alongside
State Highway 73 and is adjacent to
the eastern flanks of the Southern Alps. The Broken River Ski Area and the Craigieburn Valley Ski Area lie within its borders. The New Zealand Forest Service had
used the area as an experimental forestry area and there is now an
environmental issue with the
spread of wilding conifers.
- Hanmer Forest Park
- Situated in the Canterbury region.
- Lake Sumner Forest
- Situated in the Canterbury region.
- Mount Richmond Forest
- Situated in the Marlborough region.
- Victoria Forest Park
- Situated in the West
The famous "Pancake Rocks" at Paparoa
The South Island has ten National
established under the National Parks Act
and which are administered by the Department of
From north to south, the National Parks are:
- Kahurangi National Park
- (4,520 km², established 1996) Situated in the north-west
of the South Island, Kahurangi comprises spectacular and remote
country and includes the Heaphy Track. It has ancient landforms and
unique flora and fauna. It is New Zealand's second largest national
- Abel Tasman National Park
- (225 km², established 1942) Has
numerous tidal inlets and beaches of golden sand along the shores
Bay. It is New Zealand's smallest national
- Nelson Lakes National Park
- (1,018 km², established 1956) A rugged, mountainous area
in Nelson Region. It extends southwards from the forested
shores of Lake
Rotoiti and Rotoroa to the Lewis
Pass National Reserve.
- Paparoa National Park
- (306 km², established 1987) On the
West Coast of the South Island between Westport and Greymouth. It includes the celebrated Pancake Rocks at
- Arthur's Pass National Park
- (1,144 km², established 1929) A rugged
and mountainous area straddling the main divide of the Southern
Tai Poutini National Park
- (1,175 km², established 1960) Extends from the highest
peaks of the Southern Alps to a wild remote coastline. Included in
the park are glaciers, scenic lakes and
dense rainforest, plus remains of old
gold mining towns along the coast.
- Aoraki/Mount Cook National
- (707 km², established 1953) An [[Wiktionary
- Mount Aspiring National
- (3,555 km², established 1964) A
complex of impressively glaciated mountain scenery centred on
Aspiring/Tititea (3,036 m), New Zealand's highest peak outside
of the main divide.
- Fiordland National Park
- (12,519 km², established 1952) The largest national park
in New Zealand and one of the largest in the world. The grandeur of
its scenery, with its deep fiords, its lakes
of glacial origin, its mountains and waterfalls, has earned it international
recognition as a world heritage area.
- Rakiura National Park
- (1,500 km², established 2002) On
Other Native Reserves and Parks
There are several bird species which are endemic
to the South Island. They include the
, Great Spotted
, Okarito Brown Kiwi
South Island Kōkako
, South Island Pied
, Shore Plover
, South Island Saddleback
, King Shag
, Black-fronted Tern
, New Zealand Robin
, Rock Wren
Unfortunately many South Island bird species are now extinct
, mainly due to predation by cats and rats
introduced by humans. Extinct species include the South Island Goose
, South Island Giant Moa
and South Island Piopio
Natural Geographic Features
South Island has 15 named maritime fiords which are all located in
the southwest of the island in a mountainous area known as Fiordland.
The spelling 'fiord' is used in New
Zealand, although all the maritime fjords
the word Sound
in their name
A number of lakes in the Fiordland and Otago
regions also fill glacial valleys
Anau has three western arms which are fjords (and are
named so). Lake McKerrow to the north of Milford Sound is a fjord with a silted-up mouth.
Wakatipu fills a
large glacial valley, as do lakes Hakapoua, Poteriteri, Monowai and Hauroko in the far south of Fiordland. Lake
Manapouri has fjords as its West, North and South
Marlborough Sounds, are a series of deep indentations in the
coastline at the northern tip of the South Island, are in fact
rias, drowned river valleys.
there were an estimated 360 glaciers within
Alps of the South Island.
An inventory taken
in the 1980s by Trevor Chinn
over 3,100 glaciers larger than a hectare
(2.5 acres). The difference in the number of glaciers was not that
they had greatly increased – but simply that they had never before
been systematically counted.
Glaciers occur in the South Island between 43° and 45 South
latitude, from Fiordland to Nelson. The headwaters of the Rakaia and Rangitātā rivers have hundreds, including Lyell and Ramsey glaciers,
and the Bracken, Garden of Eden and Garden of Allah
snowfields. Only a few dozen are found north of
Pass, mostly in the Spenser Mountains and Saint Arnaud Range.
in the Aoraki/Mt Cook area include the 29-kilometre-long Tasman, the Murchison (18 kilometres), the Mueller, Hooker and Godley east
of the main divide, and the Fox (13
kilometres) and Franz Josef (12 kilometres) west of the divide.
south of Aoraki/Mt Cook, major glaciers include the Bonar and Volta are centred around Mount
Aspiring/Tititea. Many others, including the Olivine Ice Plateau, lie in the upper
catchments of the Arawata, Matukituki , Dart and Hollyford rivers. They are scattered throughout Fiordland, but most are concentrated around Mount
Tūtoko in the Darran
Mountains. The southernmost ice glacier is on Caroline Peak above Lake Hauroko.
are some 3,820 lakes in New Zealand with a surface area
larger than one hectare.
Much of the
higher country in the South Island was covered by ice during the
of the last two
million years. Advancing glaciers eroded large steep-sided valleys,
and often carried piles of moraine
and soil) that acted as natural dams. When the glaciers retreated,
they left basins that are now filled by lakes. The level of most
glacial lakes in the upper parts of the Waitaki and Clutha rivers are controlled for electricity
generation. Hydroelectric reservoirs are common in
Canterbury and Central Otago,
the largest of which is Lake Benmore, on the Waitaki River.
The South Island has 8 of New Zealand's 10 biggest lakes.
were formed by glaciers and include
Wakatipu, Lake Tekapo and Lake Manapouri. The deepest (462 metres) is Lake
Hauroko, in western Southland.
It is the 16th deepest lake in the world.
Millions of years ago, Central Otago
had a huge lake – Lake Manuherikia
It was slowly filled in with mud, and fossils
of fish and crocodiles
have been found there.
There are 4 extinct
volcanoes in the South
Island, all of which are located on the east coast.
Peninsula forms the most prominent of these volcanic
Geologically, the peninsula comprises the eroded
remnants of two large shield
(Lyttelton formed first, then Akaroa). These formed
due to intraplate volcanism between approximately eleven and eight
million years ago (Miocene
) on a continental
crust. The peninsula formed as offshore islands, with the volcanoes
reaching to about 1,500 m above sea level. Two dominant craters
formed Lyttelton and Akaroa Harbours. The Canterbury Plains formed from the erosion
of the Southern
Alps (an extensive and high mountain range caused by
the meeting of the Indo-Australian and Pacific tectonic plate) and from the alluvial fans created by large braided rivers.
These plains reach
their widest point where they meet the hilly sub-region of Banks
Peninsula. A layer of loess
, a rather unstable
fine silt deposited by the foehn winds
which bluster across the plains, covers the northern and western
flanks of the peninsula. The portion of crater rim lying between
Lyttelton Harbour and Christchurch city forms the Port Hills.
Harbour was formed from the drowned remnants of a giant
shield volcano, centred close to what
is now the town of Port
The remains of this violent origin can be seen in the basalt
of the surrounding hills. The last eruptive
phase ended some ten million years ago, leaving the prominent peak
Timaru was constructed on rolling hills created from the
lava flows of the extinct Mount
Horrible, which last erupted many thousands of years
Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage site
for "the place of greenstone
") is a World Heritage site
in the south west
corner of the South Island.
Inscribed on the World Heritage List in
1990 it covers 26,000 km² and incorporates the Aoraki/Mount Cook, the Fiordland, the Mount Aspiring and the Westland National Parks.
It is thought to contain some of the best modern representations of
the original flora
present in Gondwanaland
,one of the reasons for listing as
a World Heritage site.
The South Island has several tertiary level institutions:
Healthcare in the South Island is provided by six District Health Boards
Organized around geographical areas of varying population sizes,
they are not coterminous with the Local Government Regions
|Canterbury District Health Board
||Ashburton District, Christchurch City, Hurunui District, Kaikoura District, Selwyn District,
|Nelson Marlborough District Health Board
||Marlborough District, Nelson City, Tasman
|Otago District Health Board
Otago District, Clutha District,
Dunedin City, Queenstown Lakes District, Waitaki
|South Canterbury District Health Board
|Southland District Health Board
Invercargill City, Southland District
|West Coast District Health Board
||Buller District, Grey District, Westland District
Emergency Medical Services
There are several air ambulance
operating throughout the South Island.
The South Island has contributed to the Arts in New Zealand and
internationally through highly regarded artists such as Nigel Brown
, Colin McCahon
, Shona McFarlane
, Peter McIntyre Grahame Sydney
and Geoff Williams
University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts was founded in
South Island Art Galleries include:
the South Island principally Southland and Otago are famous for its
people speaking what is often referred to as the "Southland burr",
a semi-rhotic, Scottish-influenced dialect of the English
The Allied Press Building,
The South Island has 11 daily newspapers and an increasing number
of weekly community newspapers. Newspapers are still an important
form of communication for many people particularly those living in
|The Greymouth Star
|Motueka Golden Bay
|Nelson City Leader
|The Nelson Mail
||APN News & Media
|Otago Daily Times
|Southern Rural Life
|The Timaru Herald
|The West Coast
|West Coast Times
The South Island has 7 regional stations (either non-commercial
public service or privately owned) that broadcast only in one
region or city. These stations mainly broadcast free to air on
frequencies, however some are carried on
subscription TV. Content ranges from local news, access broadcasts,
satellite sourced news, tourist information and Christian
programming to music videos.
West Coast stations
- Radio Scenicland and later Scenicland
FM - Rebranded as Classic Hits Scenicland FM.
- 3ZB - Rebranded as Newstalk ZB
- 3ZE (Ashburton) - Rebranded as Classic Hits
- Channel Z - Operated local Channel Z
station until 2001 when station was replaced with Auckland based
- Fox FM (Ashburton) -
Rebranded as Port FM
- 99 Life FM - Original Life FM
- 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
Dunedin and East Otago stations
- 4XO - Rebranded as More FM
- 4ZB and later ZBFM - Rebranded as Classic
- Radio Waitaki (Oamaru) - Rebranded
as Classic Hits Radio Waitaki
- Whitestone FM (Oamaru) - Rebranded
as Port FM
Queenstown and Central Otago stations
Anglicanism is strongest in Canterbury (the city of Christchurch having been founded as an Anglican
Catholicism is still has a noticeably strong
presence on the West Coast, and in Kaikoura.
A comparison of North & South
Island Christian demoninations
The territorial authorities with the
highest proportion of Catholics are Kaikoura (where they are 18.4%
of the total population), Westland
Presbyterianism is strong in the lower South
Island — the city of Dunedin was founded as a Presbyterian settlement, and
many of the early settlers in the region were Scottish
Presbyterians. The territorial authorities with the
highest proportion of Presbyterians are Gore
(where they are 30.9% of the total population), Clutha (30.7%), and Southland (29.8%).
The first Muslims
in New Zealand were Chinese
golddiggers working in the Dunstan gold fields of Otago
in the 1870s. Dunedin's Al-Huda mosque is reputedly
the world's southernmost, and is further from Mecca than any mosque in the Southern
A number of national or international sporting teams and events are
based in the South Island, including:
- Basketball: Canterbury Rams, Nelson Giants.
- Cricket: Central Stags, Canterbury Wizards, Otago Volts
- Football : Canterbury United, Otago United.
- Ice hockey: Canterbury Red Devils, Dunedin Thunder, Southern Stampede.
- Netball: Canterbury Tactix, Southern Steel.
- Rugby league: Canterbury Bulls
- Rugby union: Crusaders, Highlanders (Super
Otago, Southland Stags, Tasman Makos (Air NZ Cup), Buller, South Canterbury,
West Coast (Heartland Championship)
The South Island occasionally hosts matches for North Island based
teams who compete in Trans-Tasman sporting competition.
Christchurch has hosted home fixtures for the Auckland-based
New Zealand Breakers
(basketball) and now-defunct Football Kingz FC
(football), as well as fixtures for the Wellington-based Wellington Phoenix FC
Christchurch has also rugby league matches
between the Auckland-based New
Zealand Warriors and the Sydney-based Wests Tigers as the result of the Tigers
relocating some of their home matches to Lancaster Park.
Christchurch also hosted the 1974 Commonwealth Games