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South Island
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South Island

The South Island forms one of the two major islands of New Zealand, the other being the North Island. The Maori name for the South Island is Te Wai Pounamu which means "The Greenstone Water" (greenstone being jade).

It has an area of 58,093 square miles (151,215 square km), making it the world's 12th largest island. Along its west coast runs the mountain chain of the Southern Alps; Mount Cook is the highest point, 12,283.3 feet (3,754 m) above sea level.

Historical Note: In the 19th century, today's South Island bore the name Middle Island, and the name South Island referred to today's Stewart Island.

Table of contents
1 Historical provinces of the South Island:
2 Cities and towns on the South Island
3 Geographic features

Historical provinces of the South Island:

Cities and towns on the South Island

Geographic features

Shibboleth Warning: maps and non-New Zealanders say "South Island"; but genuine Kiwis say "THE South Island", with a definite article. Maps, headings or tables, and adjectival expressions use "South Island"; whereas "the South Island" is used after a preposition or before or after a verb; eg "my mother lives in the South Island", "the North Island is smaller than the South Island", "I'm visiting the South Island".

The South Island is often called the Mainland (somewhat humorously) by some New Zealanders because it is the largest of the islands of New Zealand, and because the North Island is considered to be somewhat peripheral to South Islanders. NOTE: the North Island contains the largest cities, and the bulk of New Zealand's population.