Lowest prices on South Island hotels booking, New Zealand

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South Island Hotels Comparison & Online Booking

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What's important: you can compare and book not only South Island hotels and resorts, but also villas and holiday cottages, inns and B&Bs (bed and breakfast), condo hotels and apartments, timeshare properties, guest houses and pensions, campsites (campgrounds), motels and hostels on South Island. If you're going to South Island save your money and time, don't pay for the services of the greedy travel agencies. Instead, book the best hotel on South Island online, buy the cheapest airline tickets to South Island, and rent a car on South Island right now, paying the lowest price! Besides, here you can buy the South Island related books, guidebooks, souvenirs and other goods.

By the way, we would recommend you to combine your visit to South Island with other popular and interesting places of New Zealand, for example: New Plymouth, Kaikoura, Tauranga, Hastings, Gisborne, Invercargill, Wellington, South Island, Wanaka, Napier, Auckland, Waiheke Island, Hamilton, Whangarei, Nelson, Palmerston North, Dunedin, Taupo, Porirua, Lower Hutt, Rotorua, Christchurch, North Island, etc.

How to Book a Hotel on South Island

In order to book an accommodation on South Island enter the proper dates and do the hotel search. If needed, sort the found South Island hotels by price, star rating, property type, guest rating, hotel features, hotel theme or hotel chain. Then take a look at the found hotels on South Island map to estimate the distance from the main South Island attractions and sights. You can also read the guest reviews of South Island hotels and see their ratings.

When a hotel search on South Island is done, please select the room type, the included meals and the suitable booking conditions (for example, "Deluxe double room, Breakfast included, Non-Refundable"). Press the "View Deal" ("Book Now") button. Make your booking on a hotel booking website and get the hotel reservation voucher by email. That's it, a perfect hotel on South Island is waiting for you!

Hotels of South Island

A hotel on South Island is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger on South Island hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms on South Island are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some South Island hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most South Island hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels on South Island have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels on South Island
An upscale full service hotel facility on South Island that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury South Island hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels on South Island
Full service South Island hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels on South Island
Boutique hotels of South Island are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. South Island boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels on South Island may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels on South Island
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of South Island travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most South Island focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels on South Island
Small to medium-sized South Island hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded South Island traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service South Island hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs on South Island
A bed and breakfast on South Island is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, South Island bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical South Island B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels on South Island
South Island hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many South Island hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels on South Island
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized South Island hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels on South Island lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs on South Island
South Island timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts on South Island often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of South Island on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels on South Island
A South Island motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of South Island for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of South Island motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

Why HotelsCombined

HotelsCombined is the leading hotel metasearch engine founded in 2005, with headquarters in Sydney, Australia. It is widely recognized as the world's best hotel price comparison site and has won many of the most prestigious tourism industry awards. The site operates in over 40 languages, handles 120 different currencies and aggregates more than 2 million deals from hundreds of travel sites and hotel chains. The number of users counts more than 300,000 people a year with over $1,000,000,000 in estimated total cost of hotel reservations.

The main purpose of HotelsCombined hotel price comparison service is to help the travelers in finding a perfect accommodation option on South Island at the best price, eliminating the need to manually analyze hundreds of hotel booking sites and thousands of price offers. Through the partnership with the most popular hotel booking websites, online travel agencies and hotel chains, HotelsCombined allows its users to search for and compare the current rates on South Island hotels in a single search. It also provides an aggregated summary of hotel reviews and ratings from external sites.

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Travelling and vacation on South Island

South Island
Te Waipounamu
Turbid Waters Surround New Zealand - crop.jpg
Satellite view of the South Island
South Island Te Waipounamu is located in Oceania
South Island Te Waipounamu
South Island
Te Waipounamu
Location Oceania
Coordinates  / -43.983; 170.450  / -43.983; 170.450
Archipelago New Zealand
Area 150,437 km (58,084 sq mi)
Area rank 12th
Length 840 km (522 mi)
Coastline 5,842 km (3,630.1 mi)
Highest elevation 3,754 m (12,316 ft)
Highest point Aoraki/Mount Cook
New Zealand
ISO 3166-2:NZ NZ-S
Regions 7
Territorial authorities 23
Largest settlement Christchurch (pop. 389,700)
Demonym South Islander, Mainlander
Population 1,096,200 (June 2016)
Pop. density 7.2 /km (18.6 /sq mi)
Ethnic groups European, Māori

The South Island or Te Waipounamu (Māori) is the larger of the two major islands of New Zealand, the other being the smaller but more populous North Island. It is bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea, and to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean. The South Island covers 150,437 square kilometres (58,084 sq mi) and has a temperate climate.

It has a 32 percent larger landmass than the North Island so is sometimes referred to as the "mainland" of New Zealand, especially by South Island residents, but only 23 percent of New Zealand's 4.7 million inhabitants live there. In the early stages of European (Pākehā) settlement of the country, the South Island had the majority of the European population and wealth due to the 1860s gold rushes. The North Island population overtook the South in the early 20th century, with 56 percent of the population living in the North in 1911, and the drift north of people and businesses continued throughout the century.

In prose, the two main islands of New Zealand are called the North Island and the South Island, with the definite article.

South Island: History

Charcoal rock drawing at Carters rockpool on the Opihi River
First European impression of Māori, at Murderers' Bay, 1642.
Ships in what is likely to be Akaroa Harbour some time in the early 19th century.
Gabriel's Gully during the Central Otago Gold Rush, 1862.
Benmore Dam is the largest of eight dams within the Waitaki power scheme and was commissioned in 1965.

South Island: Pre-history

Charcoal drawings can be found on limestone rock shelters in the centre of the South Island, with over 500 sites stretching from Kaikoura to North Otago. The drawings are estimated to be between 500 and 800 years old, and portray animals, people and fantastic creatures, possibly stylised reptiles. Some of the birds pictured are long extinct, including moa and Haast's eagles. They were drawn by early Māori, but by the time Europeans arrived, local Māori did not know the origins of the drawings.

South Island: Classical Māori period

Early inhabitants of the South Island were the Waitaha. They were largely absorbed via marriage and conquest by the Kāti Mamoe in the 16th century.

Kāti Mamoe were in turn largely absorbed via marriage and conquest by the Kāi Tahu who migrated south in the 17th century. While today there is no distinct Kāti Mamoe organisation, many Kāi Tahu have Kāti 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.

In the early 18th century, Kāi 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 Kāi Tahu. Kāi Tahu continued to push south, conquering Kaikoura. By the 1730s, Kāi 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 Kāi Tahu at Kaikoura. Ngāti Toa then visited Kaiapoi, ostensibly to trade. When they attacked their hosts, the well-prepared Kāi 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 Kāi 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 1831–32 Te Rauparaha attacked the Kaiapoi pā (fortified village). Kaiapoi was engaged in a three-month siege by Te Rauparaha, during which his men successfully sapped the pā. They then attacked Kāi Tahu on Banks Peninsula and took the pā at Onawe. In 1832-33 Kāi Tahu retaliated under the leadership of Tūhawaiki and others, attacking Ngāti Toa at Lake Grassmere. Kāi Tahu prevailed, and killed many Ngāti Toa, although Te Rauparaha again escaped. Fighting continued for a year or so, with Kāi Tahu maintaining the upper hand. Ngāti Toa never again made a major incursion into Kāi Tahu territory. By 1839 Kāi Tahu and Ngāti Toa established peace and Te Rauparaha released the Kāi Tahu captives he held. Formal marriages between the leading families in the two tribes sealed the peace.

South Island: European discovery

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. In December 1642, Tasman anchored at the northern end of the island in Golden Bay which he named Moordenaar's Bay (Murderers Bay) before sailing northward to Tonga following a clash with 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).

The first European settlement in the South Island was founded at Bluff in 1823 by James Spencer, a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo.

In January 1827, the French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville arrived in Tasman Bay on the corvette Astrolabe. A number of landmarks around Tasman Bay were named by d'Urville and his crew including d'Urville Island, French Pass and Torrent Bay.

South Island: European settlement

When Britain annexed New Zealand in 1840, the South Island briefly became a part of New South Wales. This annexation was in response to France’s attempts to colonise the South Island at Akaroa and the New Zealand Company attempts to establish a separate colony in Wellington, and so Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson declared British sovereignty over all of New Zealand on 21 May 1840 (the North Island by treaty and the South by discovery).

On 17 June 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.

The Otago Settlement, sponsored by the Free Church of Scotland, took concrete form in Otago in March 1848 with the arrival of the first two immigrant ships from Greenock (on the Firth of Clyde) - the John Wickliffe and the Philip Laing. Captain William Cargill, a veteran of the Peninsular War, served as the colony's first leader: Otago citizens subsequently elected him to the office of Superintendent of the Province of Otago.

While the North Island was convulsed by the Land Wars of the 1860s and 1870s, the South Island, with its low Māori population, was generally peaceful. In 1861 gold was discovered at Gabriel's Gully in Central Otago, sparking a gold rush. Dunedin became the wealthiest city in the country and many in the South Island resented financing the North Island’s wars. In 1865 Parliament voted on a Bill to make the South Island independent: it was defeated 17 to 31.

In the 1860s, 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.

South Island: 2010–2011 earthquakes

South Island: September 2010

An earthquake with magnitude 7.1 occurred in the South Island of New Zealand at Saturday 04:35 am local time, 4 September 2010 (16:35 UTC, 3 September 2010). The earthquake occurred at a depth of 10 kilometres (6.2 mi), and there were no fatalities.

The epicentre was located 40 kilometres (25 mi) west of Christchurch; 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) south-east of Darfield; 190 kilometres (120 mi) south-southeast of Westport; 295 kilometres (183 mi) south-west of Wellington; and 320 kilometres (200 mi) north-northeast of Dunedin.

Building damage in Worcester Street, corner Manchester Street, with ChristChurch Cathedral in the background. (September 2010)

Sewers were damaged, gas and water lines were broken, and power to up to 75% of the city was disrupted. Among the facilities impacted by lack of power was the Christchurch Hospital, which was forced to use emergency generators in the immediate aftermath of the quake.

A local state of emergency was declared at 10:16 am on 4 September for the city, and evacuations of parts were planned to begin later in the day. People inside the Christchurch city centre were evacuated, and the city's central business district remained closed until 5 September. A curfew from 7 pm on 4 September to 7 am on 5 September was put in place. The New Zealand Army was also deployed to assist police and enforce the curfew. All schools were closed until 8 September so they could be checked.

Christchurch International Airport was closed following the earthquake and flights in and out of it cancelled. It reopened at 1:30 pm following inspection of the main runway.

The earthquake was reported to have caused widespread damage and power outages. 63 aftershocks were also reported in the first 48 hours with three registering 5.2 magnitude. Christchurch residents reported chimneys falling in through roofs, cracked ceilings and collapsed brick walls. The total insurance costs of this event were estimated to reach up to $11 billion according to the New Zealand Treasury.

South Island: February 2011

A store damaged in the February 2011 earthquake.
Pyne Gould Building, 24 February 2011

A large aftershock of magnitude 6.3 occurred on 22 February 2011 at 12:51 pm. It was centred just to the north of Lyttelton, 10 kilometres south east of Christchurch, at a depth of 5 km. Although lower on the moment magnitude scale than the quake of September 2010, the intensity and violence of the ground shaking was measured to be VIII on the MMI and among the strongest ever recorded globally in an urban area due to the shallowness and proximity of the epicentre. Early assessments indicated that about a third of the buildings in the Central Business District would have to be demolished.

In contrast to the September 2010 quake, the February 2011 earthquake struck on a busy weekday afternoon. This, along with the strength of the quakes, and the proximity to the city centre resulted in 181 deaths.

This event promptly resulted in the declaration of New Zealand's first National State of Emergency. Many buildings and landmarks were severely damaged, including the iconic 'Shag Rock' and Christchurch Cathedral.

International bodies quickly offered assistance. Contingents of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) soon arrived. Teams were provided by Australia, United States, Singapore, Britain, Taiwan, Japan and China.

The Royal New Zealand Navy was involved immediately. The HMNZS Canterbury, which was docked at Lyttelton when the quake struck, was involved in providing local community assistance, in particular by providing hot meals.

After inspection, the runway at Christchurch Airport was found to be in good order. Due to the demand of citizens wishing to leave the city, the national airline Air New Zealand, offered a $50 Domestic Standby airfare. The Air New Zealand CEO increased the domestic airline traffic from Christchurch to Wellington and Auckland. Thousands of people took up this offer to relocate temporarily in the wake of the event.

On 1 March at 12:51, a week after the tragedy, New Zealand observed a two-minute silence.

South Island: June 2011

On 13 June 2011 at about 1:00 pm New Zealand time, Christchurch was again rocked by a magnitude 5.7 quake, followed by a magnitude 6.3 quake (initially thought to be 6.0) at 2:20 pm, centred in a similar location to that of the February quake with a depth of 6.0 kilometres. Dozens of aftershocks occurred over the following days, including several over magnitude 4.

Phone lines and power were lost in some suburbs, and liquefaction surfaced mainly in the eastern areas of the city which were worst affected following the aftershocks. Many residents in and around the hillside suburb of Sumner self-evacuated.

Further damage was reported to buildings inside the cordoned central business district, with an estimate of 75 additional buildings needing demolition. Among the buildings further damaged was the Christchurch Cathedral, which lost its iconic rose window, a factor reducing the likelihood of the cathedral being restored.

There was only one death recorded following the quake; however there were many injuries.

South Island: Naming and usage

South Island (political geography), in relation to North Island; includes South Island and surrounding islands

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".

Although the island had been known as the South Island for many years, in 2009 the New Zealand Geographic Board found that, along with the North Island, the South Island had no official name. After a public consultation, the board officially named the island South Island or Te Waipounamu in October 2013.

Said to mean "the Water(s) of Greenstone", this name possibly evolved from Te Wāhi Pounamu "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.

In prose, the two main islands of New Zealand are called the North Island and the South Island, with the definite article. It is normal to use the preposition in rather than on. Maps, headings, tables and adjectival expressions use South Island without "the".

South Island: Government and politics

The Canterbury Provincial Council Buildings in Christchurch, designed by Benjamin Mountfort.
Edward John Eyre, the Lieutenant-Governor of New Munster.

The South Island has no separately represented country subdivision, but is guaranteed 16 of the electorates in the New Zealand House of Representatives. A two-tier structure constituted under the Local Government Act 2002 gives the South Island (and its adjacent islands) seven regional councils for the 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 and are known as unitary authorities.

When New 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 Zealand, 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 1846. divided the colony into two provinces: New Ulster Province (the North Island), and New Munster Province (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 John Eyre was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of New Munster. In 1851 the Provincial Legislative Councils were permitted to be partially elective.

The Provincial Council of New Munster had only one legislative session, in 1849, before it succumbed to the virulent attacks of settlers from Wellington. Governor Sir George Grey, 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 Canterbury, Nelson, and Otago. Each province had its own legislature known as a Provincial Council that elected its own Speaker and Superintendent.

Secession movements have surfaced several times in the South Island. A Premier of New Zealand, Sir Julius Vogel, was amongst the first people to make this call, which was voted on by the New Zealand Parliament as early as 1865. The desire for the South Island to form a separate colony was one of the main factors in moving the capital of New Zealand from Auckland to Wellington that year.

Several South Island nationalist groups have emerged over recent years including the South Island Party with a pro-South agenda, fielded candidates in the 1999 General Election. Today, several internet based groups advocate their support for greater self determination.

On 13 October 2010, South Island Mayors led by Bob Parker of Christchurch displayed united support for a Southern Mayoral Council. Supported by Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton and Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt, Bob Parker said that increased cooperation and the forming of a new South Island-wide mayoral forum were essential to representing the island's interests in Wellington and countering the new Auckland Council.

In February 2012, the South Island Strategic Alliance (SISA) involving nearly all the Councils of the South Island was formed. This group is made up of elected representatives and senior management from 12 councils and the Department of Internal Affairs. It will examine potential projects where there are real and achievable benefits, for example in roads, information technology and library services and then allocate the project to a group of willing council CEOs for progression.

South Island: Administrative divisions

Territorial authorities of the South Island

There are 23 territorial authorities within the South Island: 4 city councils and 19 district councils. Three territorial authorities (Nelson City Council, and the Tasman and Marlborough District Councils) also perform the functions of a regional council and thus are known as unitary authorities.

Name Seat Area (km) Population Density (per km) Region(s)
Ashburton District Ashburton 7003620800000000000♠6,208 33,700 5.43 Canterbury
Buller District Westport 7,950 10,250 1.29 West Coast
Central Otago District Alexandra 9,966 19,700 1.98 Otago
Christchurch City Christchurch 1,610 375,000 232.92 Canterbury
Clutha District Balclutha 6,406 17,450 2.72 Otago
Dunedin City Dunedin 3,340 127,000 38.02 Otago
Gore District Gore 1,251 12,500 9.99 Southland
Grey District Greymouth 3,516 13,550 3.85 West Coast
Hurunui District Amberley 8,661 12,700 1.47 Canterbury
Invercargill City Invercargill 491 54,700 111.41 Southland
Kaikoura District Kaikoura 2,050 3,740 1.82 Canterbury
Mackenzie District Fairlie 7,442 4,520 0.61 Canterbury
Marlborough District Blenheim 12,484 45,500 3.64 unitary authority
Nelson City Nelson 445 50,600 113.71 unitary authority
Queenstown-Lakes District Queenstown 9,368 34,700 3.70 Otago
Selwyn District Rolleston 6,557 56,200 8.57 Canterbury
Southland District Invercargill 32,605 30,900 0.95 Southland
Tasman District Richmond 9,786 50,300 5.14 unitary authority
Timaru District Timaru 2,726 46,700 17.13 Canterbury
Waimakariri District Rangiora 2,216 57,800 26.08 Canterbury
Waimate District Waimate 3,577 7,950 2.22 Canterbury
Waitaki District Oamaru 7,212 22,100 3.06 Canterbury (59.61%)
Otago (40.39%)
Westland District Hokitika 11,870 8,760 0.74 West Coast
  • Population as of June 2016.
  • Total of Christchurch City and Banks Peninsula areas.
  • Includes Stewart Island and Solander Islands.

South Island: 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 Munster Party
  • New Zealand Democratic Party
  • New Zealand Progressive Party
  • South Island Party

South Island: Law enforcement

South Island: Police

Dunedin Central Police station.
NZ Police Mitsubishi Diamante in Dunedin.

The New Zealand Police is the primary law enforcement agency of New Zealand including the South Island. Three decentralised 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. The areas are Nelson Bays, West Coast and Marlborough.

The 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.

The 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. The Southern District has three distinct Areas headed by Inspectors; Otago Rural, Southland and Dunedin.

South Island: Correctional facilities

Correctional facilities in the South Island are operated by the Department of Corrections 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 Prison. 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.

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. Invercargill Prison, in Invercargill, accommodates up to 172 minimum to low-medium security prisoners. Otago Corrections Facility is located near Milton and houses up to 335 minimum to high-medium security male prisoners.

South Island: Customs service

The 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.

South Island: People

South Island: Population

Compared to the more populated and multi-ethnic North Island, the South Island has a smaller, more homogeneous resident population of 1,096,200 (June 2016). According to the Statistics New Zealand Subnational Population Projections: 2006–2031; the South Island's population will increase by an average of 0.6 percent a year to 1,047,100 in 2011, 1,080,900 in 2016, 1,107,900 in 2021, 1,130,900 in 2026 and 1,149,400 in 2031.

At the 2013 Census of Population and Dwellings, 88.2 percent of South Islanders identified as of European ethnicity, 8.7 percent as Māori, 5.6 percent as Asian, 2.2 percent as Pacific Peoples, 0.8 percent as Middle Eastern/Latin American/African, and 2.1 percent as another ethnicity (mainly 'New Zealander').

Eighteen percent of the South Island's population was born overseas, compared to 27.5 percent in the North Island. The British Isles is the largest region of origin, accounting for 37.9 percent of the overseas-born population in the South Island.

Around 48.6 percent of South Islanders affiliate with Christianity and 3.1 percent affiliate with non-Christian religions, while 45.8 percent are irreligious. Anglicanism is the largest Christian denomination in the South Island with 12.7 percent affiliating, closely followed by Catholicism at 12.1 percent and Presbyterianism at 11.7 percent.

South Island: Urbanisation

Cities and towns of the South Island by population
City/Town Region Population
(June 2016)
City/Town Region Population
(June 2016)
1 Christchurch Canterbury 389,700 11 Rolleston Canterbury 13,100
2 Dunedin Otago 118,500 12 Greymouth West Coast 9,750
3 Nelson Nelson 65,700 13 Gore Southland 9,890
4 Invercargill Southland 50,700 14 Motueka Tasman 8,180
5 Blenheim Marlborough 30,700 15 Wanaka Otago 7,850
6 Timaru Canterbury 28,800 16 Alexandra Otago 5,300
7 Ashburton Canterbury 19,850 17 Lincoln Canterbury 5,240
8 Rangiora Canterbury 17,350 18 Cromwell Otago 4,670
9 Oamaru Otago 13,850 19 Picton Marlborough 4,340
10 Queenstown Otago 14,300 20 Temuka Canterbury 4,330

South Island: Economy

The Aviemore Dam, the penultimate hydro station on the Waitaki River hydro scheme.
The Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter near Bluff

The South Island economy is strongly focused on tourism and primary industries like agriculture. The other main industry groups are manufacturing, mining, construction, energy supply, education, health and community services.

South Island: Energy

The South Island is a major centre for electricity generation, especially in the southern half of the island and especially from hydroelectricity. In 2010, the island generated 18,010 GWh of electricity, 41.5% of New Zealand's total electricity generation. Nearly all (98.7%) of the island's electricity is generated by hydroelectricity, with most of the remainder coming from wind generation.

The three large hydro schemes in the South Island: Waitaki, Clutha, and Manapouri, together produce nearly 92% of the island's electricity. The Waitaki River is the largest at 1738 MW of installed capacity. The Waitaki River is the largest hydroelectric scheme, consisting of nine powerhouses commissioned between 1936 and 1985, and generating about 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). Manapouri Power 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.

While most of the electricity generated in the South Island is transported via the 220 kV grid (plus 110 kV and 66 kV connectors) to major demand centres, including Christchurch, Dunedin, and Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter, around one-sixth of it is exported to the North Island to meet its large (and increasing) power demands via the HVDC Inter-Island link. The 611 km HVDC Inter-Island was commissioned in 1965, linking Benmore Dam on the Waitaki River in Southern Canterbury, with Haywards substation in Lower Hutt in the North island, with cables crossing Cook Strait between Fighting Bay and Oteranga Bay. While the majority of the time the South Island exports electricity to the North Island via the link, it is also used to import thermally-generated North Island electricity in years of low hydro levels.

Offshore oil and gas is likely to become an increasing important part of the South Island economy into the future. Origin Energy has formed a joint venture with Anadarko Petroleum, the second-largest independent US natural gas producer to begin drilling for oil in the Canterbury Basin off the coast of Dunedin. The 390 km, Carrack/Caravel prospect has the potential to deliver more than the equivalent of 500,000,000 barrels (79,000,000 m) of oil and gas. Market analyst, Greg Easton from Craigs Investment Partners commented that such a substantial find it could well turn Dunedin from the Edinburgh of the south to the Aberdeen of the south.

Approximate location of the Great South Basin with approximate location of allocated Oil Exploration Blocks

The Great South Basin off the coast of Otago and Southland at over 500,000 km (covering an area 1.5 times New Zealand’s land mass) is one of New Zealand’s largest undeveloped offshore petroleum basins with prospects for both oil and gas. In July 2007 the New Zealand Government awarded oil and gas exploration permits for four areas of the Great South Basin, situated in the volatile waters off the Southern Coast of New Zealand. The three successful permit holders are:

  • a consortium led by ExxonMobil New Zealand (Exploration) Limited (United States) which includes local company Todd Exploration Limited (New Zealand);
  • a consortium led by OMV New Zealand Limited (Austria) which includes PTTEP Offshore Investment Company Ltd (Thailand), Mitsui Exploration and Production Australia Pty Ltd (Japan); and
  • Greymouth Petroleum Limited (New Zealand)

The sub-national GDP of the South Island was estimated at US$27.8 billion in 2003, 21% of New Zealand's national GDP.

South Island: Stock exchanges

Due to the gold rushes of the 1860s, 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). Separate trading floors operated in both Christchurch and Dunedin until the late 1980s. 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 South Island.

South Island: 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

South Island: Tourism

Whale watching in Kaikoura

Tourism is a huge earner for the South Island. Popular tourist activities include sightseeing, adventure tourism, such as glacier climbing and Bungee jumping, tramping (hiking), kayaking, and camping. Numerous walking and hiking paths such as the Milford Track, have huge international recognition.

An increase in direct international flights to Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown has boosted the number of overseas tourists.

Fiordland National Park, Abel Tasman National Park, Westland National Park, Aoraki/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.

South Island: Ski areas and resorts

Bungy jumping in Queenstown
Cardrona Alpine Resort
Marko Lake Pukaki, with Mount Cook in the background.

This is a list of ski areas and resorts in the South Island.

Name Location Notes
Awakino ski area Otago Club Skifield
Broken River Canterbury Club Skifield
Cardrona Alpine Resort Otago
Coronet Peak Otago
Craigieburn Valley Canterbury Club Skifield
Fox Peak Canterbury Club Skifield
Hanmer Springs Ski Area Canterbury Club Skifield
Invincible Snowfields Otago Helicopter access only
Mount Cheeseman Canterbury Club Skifield
Mount Dobson Canterbury
Mount Hutt Canterbury
Mount Olympus Canterbury Club Skifield
Mount Potts Canterbury Heliskiing and snowcatting only
Mount Robert Tasman Club Skifield
Ohau Canterbury
Porter Ski Area Canterbury
Rainbow Tasman
The Remarkables Otago
Round Hill Canterbury
Snow Farm Otago cross-country skiing
Snow Park Otago
Tasman Glacier Canterbury Heliskiing
Temple Basin Canterbury Club Skifield
Treble Cone Otago

South Island: Transport

Map showing the route of State Highway 6

South Island: Road transport

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

South Island: Rail transport

South Island Rail Network Map.

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 dairy factory (Hokitika Branch). The first 64 km of the Otago Central Railway remain in operation for tourist trains run by Dunedin Railways (formerly Taieri Gorge Railway). 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's City Centre and the suburb of Mosgiel, and they ceased in 1982. 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 J class, ran on 26 October 1971.

South Island: Water transport

The Interislander DEV Arahura in the Marlborough Sounds.

The South Island is separated from the North Island by Cook Strait, which is 24 kilometres (15 miles) wide at its narrowest point, and requires a 70 kilometres (43 miles) ferry trip to cross.

Dunedin was the headquarters of the Union Steam Ship Company, once the largest shipping company in the Southern Hemisphere.

South Island: Ports and harbours

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

South Island: Air transport

South Island: Airports

USAF C-17 Globemaster III on the tarmac at Christchurch International Airport
Dunedin International Airport control tower and terminal building in 2009 with an Air New Zealand Boeing 737-300 on the tarmac
Queenstown Airport from a Glenorchy Air aircraft
Alexandra NZLX ALR Alexandra Aerodrome
Ashburton NZAS ASG Ashburton Aerodrome
Balclutha NZBA Balclutha Aerodrome
Blenheim NZWB BHE Blenheim Airport (Woodbourne)
Christchurch NZCH CHC Christchurch International Airport (long-distance)
Cromwell NZCS Cromwell Racecourse Aerodrome
Dunedin NZDN DUD Dunedin International Airport (limited)
Gore NZGC Gore Aerodrome
Greymouth NZGM GMN Greymouth Airport
Haast NZHT Haast Aerodrome
Hokitika NZHK HKK Hokitika Airport
Invercargill NZNV IVC Invercargill Airport
Kaikoura NZKI KBZ Kaikoura Aerodrome
Lake Pukaki NZGT GTN Glentanner Aerodrome
Milford Sound NZMF MFN Milford Sound Airport
Mount Cook NZMC MON Mount Cook Aerodrome
Motueka NZMK MZP Motueka Aerodrome
Nelson NZNS NSN Nelson Airport
Oamaru NZOU OAM Oamaru Aerodrome
Picton NZPN PCN Picton Aerodrome
Queenstown NZQN ZQN Queenstown Airport (limited)
Rangiora NZFF Forest Field Aerodrome
Takaka NZTK KTF Takaka Aerodrome
Te Anau / Manapouri NZMO TEU Manapouri Aerodrome
Timaru NZTU TIU Richard Pearse Airport
Twizel NZUK TWZ Pukaki Aerodrome
Wanaka NZWF WKA Wanaka Airport
Westport NZWS WSZ Westport Airport
Wigram NZWG Wigram Aerodrome

South Island: Geography

A true-colour image of the South Island, after a powerful winter storm swept across New Zealand on 12 June 2006.
Lake Ohau
Aoraki/Mount Cook is the tallest mountain in New Zealand

The South Island, with an area of 150,437 km (58,084 sq mi), 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), with the high Kaikoura Ranges to the northeast. 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 such as Fiordland, 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 films, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

South Island: Geology

On 4 September 2010, the South Island was struck by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, which caused extensive damage, several power outages, and many reports of aftershocks. Five and a half months later, the 22 February Christchurch earthquake of 6.3 magnitude caused far more additional damage in Christchurch, resulting in 181 deaths. This quake struck at about lunchtime and was centred closer at Lyttelton, and shallower than the prior quake, consequently causing extensive damage.

South Island: Climate

The climate in the South Island is mostly temperate. The mean temperature for the South Island is 8 °C (46 °F). 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 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 while Invercargill is the wettest, receiving about 1,150 mm (45 in). The southern and south-western parts of South Island have a cooler and cloudier climate, with around 1,400–1,600 hours of sunshine annually; the northern and north-eastern parts of the South Island are the sunniest areas and receive about 2,400–2,500 hours.

Panoramic view of some of the Southern Alps in winter from the summit of Hamilton Peak in the Craigieburn Range.

South Island: Natural geographic features

South Island: Fiords

Typical view of the Doubtful Sound.

The 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 rather than 'fjord', although all the maritime fiords use the word Sound in their name instead.

A number of lakes in the Fiordland and Otago regions also fill glacial valleys. Lake Te Anau has three western arms which are fiords (and are named so). Lake McKerrow to the north of Milford Sound is a fiord with a silted-up mouth. Lake Wakatipu fills a large glacial valley, as do lakes Hakapoua, Poteriteri, Monowai and Hauroko in the far south of Fiordland. Lake Manapouri has fiords as its west, north and south arms.

The Marlborough Sounds, a series of deep indentations in the coastline at the northern tip of the South Island, are in fact rias, drowned river valleys.

South Island: Glaciers

Franz Josef Glacier.

Most of New Zealand's glaciers are in the South Island. They are generally found in the Southern Alps near the Main Divide.

An inventory of South Island glaciers during the 1980s indicated there were about 3,155 glaciers with an area of at least one hectare (2.5 acres). About a sixth of these glaciers covered more than 10 hectares. These include the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers on the West Coast, and the Tasman, Hooker, Mueller and Murchison glaciers in the east.

South Island: Lakes

Lake Hauroko.

There 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 glacial periods of the last two million years. Advancing glaciers eroded large steep-sided valleys, and often carried piles of moraine (rocks 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 South 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. They were formed by glaciers and include Lake Wakatipu, Lake Tekapo and Lake Manapouri. The deepest (462 m) 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.

South Island: Volcanoes

Banks Peninsula is roughly circular, with many bays and two deep harbours.

There are 4 extinct volcanoes in the South Island, all located on the east coast.

Banks Peninsula forms the most prominent of these volcanic features. Geologically, the peninsula comprises the eroded remnants of two large shield volcanoes (Lyttelton formed first, then Akaroa). These formed due to intraplate volcanism between about 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 plates) 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.

The Otago Harbour was formed from the drowned remnants of a giant shield volcano, centred close to what is now the town of Port Chalmers. 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 of Mount Cargill.

Timaru was constructed on rolling hills created from the lava flows of the extinct Mount Horrible, which last erupted many thousands of years ago.

South Island: Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage site

Te Wāhipounamu (Māori 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 km 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 and fauna present in Gondwanaland, one of the reasons for listing as a World Heritage site.

South Island: Protected areas

South Island: Forest parks

Broken River Ski Area in the Craigieburn Forest Park.

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 Park
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 Park
Situated in the Canterbury region.
Mount Richmond Forest Park
Situated in the Marlborough region.
Victoria Forest Park
Situated in the West Coast region.

South Island: National parks

Abel Tasman National Park
The famous "Pancake Rocks" at Paparoa National Park

The South Island has ten national parks established under the National Parks Act 1980 and which are administered by the Department of Conservation.

From north to south, the National Parks are:

Kahurangi National Park
(4,520 km, 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 park.
Abel Tasman National Park
(225 km, established 1942) Has numerous tidal inlets and beaches of golden sand along the shores of Tasman Bay. It is New Zealand's smallest national park.
Nelson Lakes National Park
(1,018 km, 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 km, established 1987) On the West Coast of the South Island between Westport and Greymouth. It includes the celebrated Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki.
Arthur's Pass National Park
(1,144 km, established 1929) A rugged and mountainous area straddling the main divide of the Southern Alps.
Westland Tai Poutini National Park
(1,175 km, 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 Park
(707 km, established 1953) An alpine park, containing New Zealand's highest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook (3,754 m) and its longest glacier, Tasman Glacier (29 km). A focus for mountaineering, ski touring and scenic flights, the park is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Together, the Mount Cook and Westland National Parks have been declared a World Heritage Site.
Mount Aspiring National Park
(3,555 km, established 1964) A complex of impressively glaciated mountain scenery centred on Mount Aspiring/Tititea (3,036 m), New Zealand's highest peak outside of the main divide.
Fiordland National Park
(12,519 km, 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 km, established 2002) On Stewart Island/Rakiura.

Other native reserves and parks

  • Hakatere Conservation Park

South Island: Natural history

South Island: Birds

The South Island kea, a species of mountain parrot
The South Island takahē

There are several bird species which are endemic to the South Island. They include the kea, great spotted kiwi, Okarito brown kiwi, South Island kōkako, South Island pied oystercatcher, Malherbe's parakeet, king shag, takahe, black-fronted tern, South Island robin, rock wren, wrybill, and yellowhead.

Many South Island bird species are now extinct, mainly due to hunting by humans and predation by cats and rats introduced by humans. Extinct species include the South Island goose, South Island giant moa, harpagornis and South Island piopio.

South Island: Education

Southern Institute of Technology main campus

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

South Island: Healthcare

Princess Margaret Hospital in Christchurch
The Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter taking off from the Dunedin Public Hospital helipad

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

Name Area covered Population
Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) Ashburton District, Christchurch City, Hurunui District, Kaikoura District, Selwyn District, Waimakariri District 491,000
Southern District Health Board (Southern DHB) Invercargill City, Gore District, Southland District, Dunedin City, Waitaki District, Central Otago District, Queenstown Lakes District, Clutha District. 300,400
Nelson Marlborough District Health Board (NMDHB) Marlborough District, Nelson City, Tasman District, 135,000
South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB) Mackenzie District, Timaru District, Waimate District 55,000
West Coast District Health Board (WCDHB) Buller District, Grey District, Westland District 32,000

South Island: Emergency medical services

There are several air ambulance and rescue helicopter services operating throughout the South Island.

  • The Lake Districts Air Rescue Trust operates two AS350BA Squirrel's and an AS355 Squirrel from Queenstown Airport.
  • The New Zealand Flying Doctor Service operates a Cessna 421 Golden Eagle and a Cessna Conquest C441 from Christchurch International Airport.
  • The Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust operates a MBB/Kawasaki BK 117 from Taieri Aerodrome near Mosgiel.
  • The Solid Energy Rescue Helicopter Trust operates an AS350BA Squirrel from Greymouth.
  • The Summit Rescue Helicopter Trust operates an AS350BA Squirrel from Nelson Airport.
  • The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust operates a MBB/Kawasaki BK 117 and an AS350BA Squirrel from Christchurch International Airport.

South Island: Culture

South Island: Art

The Centre of Contemporary Art gallery in Christchurch
Old Chemistry Building, Christchurch Arts Centre

The South Island has contributed to the Arts in New Zealand and internationally through highly regarded artists such as Nigel Brown, Frances Hodgkins, Colin McCahon, Shona McFarlane, Peter McIntyre Grahame Sydney and Geoff Williams.

The University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts was founded in 1950.

South Island Art Galleries include:

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

South Island: Language

Parts of the South Island principally Southland and the very southernmost areas of Otago near the border with Southland are famous for its people speaking what is often referred to as the "Southland burr", a semi-rhotic, Scottish-influenced dialect of the English language.

South Island: Media

South Island: Newspapers

The South Island has ten daily newspapers and a large number of weekly community newspapers; major daily newspapers include the Ashburton Guardian, Greymouth Star, The Marlborough Express, The Nelson Mail, Oamaru Mail, Otago Daily Times, The Press, Southland Times, The Timaru Herald, and West Coast Times. The Press and Otago Daily Times, serving mainly Christchurch and Dunedin respectively, are the South Island's major newspapers.

South Island: Television

The South Island has seven regional stations (either non-commercial public service or privately owned) that broadcast only in one region or city: 45 South TV, Channel 9, Canterbury Television, CUE, Mainland Television, Shine TV, and Visitor TV. These stations mainly broadcast free to air on UHF 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.

South Island: Radio stations

A large number of radio stations serve communities throughout the South Island; these include independent stations, but many are owned by organisations such as Radio New Zealand, The Radio Network, and MediaWorks New Zealand.

South Island: Museums

  • Bluff Maritime Museum
  • Cadbury World
  • Canterbury Museum
  • Ferrymead Heritage Park
  • Nelson Provincial Museum
  • Olveston House
  • Otago Museum
  • Otago Settlers Museum: Toitū
  • Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum
  • Southland Museum and Art Gallery
  • World of Wearable Art
  • Yaldhurst Museum

South Island: Religion

Anglicanism is strongest in Canterbury (the city of Christchurch having been founded as an Anglican settlement).

Catholicism is still has a noticeably strong presence on the West Coast, and in Kaikoura. The territorial authorities with the highest proportion of Catholics are Kaikoura (where they are 18.4% of the total population), Westland (18.3%), and Grey (17.8%).

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 District (30.7%), and Southland (29.8%).

The first Muslims in New Zealand were Chinese gold diggers working in the Dunstan gold fields of Otago in the 1860s. Dunedin's Al-Huda mosque is the world's southernmost, and the farthest from Mecca.

South Island: Sport

The Christchurch based Crusaders rugby team playing the Bulls from South Africa in the Super Rugby competition.

A number of professional sports teams are based in the South Island - with the major spectator sports of rugby union and cricket particularly well represented. The Crusaders and Highlanders represent the upper and lower South Island respectively in rugby union's Super Rugby competition; and Canterbury, Otago, Southland Stags, Tasman Makos all participate in provincial rugby's ITM Cup. At cricket, the South Island is represented by the Canterbury Wizards, Central Stags, and Otago Volts in the Plunket Shield, one day domestic series, and the HRV Twenty20 Cup.

As well as rugby union and cricket, the South Island also boasts representative teams in the domestic basketball, soccer, ice hockey, netball, and rugby league.

The North vs South match, sometimes known as the Interisland match was a longstanding rugby union fixture in New Zealand. The first game was played in 1897 and the last match was played in 1995.

Christchurch also hosted the 1974 Commonwealth Games. An unidentified group is promoting a bid for the South Island to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

South Island: See also

  • Cities and towns of the South Island by population
  • List of twin towns and sister cities in the South Island
  • Military of the South Island
  • New Munster
  • Nor'west arch
  • South Island nationalism

South Island: References

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  3. "Very Old Maori Rock Drawings". Natural Heritage Collection. Retrieved 2009-02-15.
  4. "The SRARNZ Logo". Society for Research on Amphibians and Reptiles in New Zealand. Retrieved 2009-02-15.
  5. Keith, Hamish (2007). The Big Picture: A history of New Zealand art from. 1642. pp. 11–16. ISBN 978-1-86962-132-2.
  6. Michael King (2003). The Penguin History of New Zealand. Penguin Books. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-14-301867-4.
  7. "Moriori - The impact of new arrivals". Teara.govt.nz. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  8. Tau, Te Maire. "Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand". |contribution= ignored (help)
  9. Bluff history - an overview (from the 'bluff.co.nz' website. Retrieved 14 December 2008.)
  10. "D'Urville's Tasman Bay Odyssey". theprow.org.nz.
  11. A.H. McLintock (ed), An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand", 3 vols, Wellington, NZ:R.E. Owen, Government Printer, 1966, vol 3 p. 526.'
  12. Robbie Whitmore. "French colonists - New Zealand in History". history-nz.org.
  13. "The Ngai Tahu Report 1991".
  14. Michael King (2003). The Penguin History of New Zealand. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-301867-4.
  15. Manying Ip. 'Chinese', Te Ara-the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 21 December 2006, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/NewZealanders/NewZealandPeoples/Chinese/en
  16. Strong quake hits near Christchurch, Radio New Zealand, 4 September 2010
  17. "New Zealand earthquake report – Sep 4 2010 at 4:35 am (NZST)". GeoNet. Earthquake Commission and GNS Science. 4 September 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  18. "New Zealand Quake Victims Say 'It was terrifying'". The Epoch Times. 3 September 2010. Retrieved 4 September 2010.
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  23. Published: 9:08 am Saturday 4 September 2010. "State of emergency declared after quake hits Chch | NATIONAL News". Tvnz.co.nz. Retrieved 4 September 2010.
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  28. Fox, Andrea (1 March 2011). "Building code no match for earthquake". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  29. "List of deceased". New Zealand Police. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
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  32. "'Thousands of homes need to go'". The Press. 14 June 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
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  35. "The Waitara Harbour Bill". Taranaki Herald. 30 July 1907. p. 4.
  36. "The New Zealand Geographic Board Considers North and South Island Names". Land Information New Zealand. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
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  39. Viewing Page 5997 of Issue 20687 Text of the 1846 Constitution from the [London Gazette]
  40. Written submission in support of application for broadcasting funding, Richard Prosser, 18 April 2008
  41. "Southern mayors plot united stand". Odt.co.nz. 13 October 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  42. "South Isl. Strategic Alliance faster, cheaper, collaborative". scoop.co.nz.
  43. Living Density: Table 1, Housing Statistics, Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 January 2009. Areas are based on 2001 boundaries. Water bodies greater than 15 hectares are excluded.
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  46. "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2016 (provisional)". Statistics New Zealand. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016. For urban areas, "Subnational population estimates (UA, AU), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996, 2001, 2006-16 (2017 boundary)". Statistics New Zealand. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  47. http://www.stats.govt.nz/~/media/Statistics/Browse%20for%20stats/SubnationalPopulationProjections/HOTP2031/SPP-06-31-tables.ashx
  48. "2013 Census QuickStats about culture and identity – data tables". Statistics New Zealand. 15 April 2014. Archived from the original on 24 May 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2016. Note some percentages (e.g. ethnicity, language) may add to more than 100 percent as people could give multiple responses.
  49. "Energy Data File". Ministry of Economic Development. 13 July 2011.
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  55. "South Island Index". Deloitte.com. 31 December 2006. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  56. Hot Soup (5 November 2010). "Top Ten Tourist Attractions in New Zealand". Thequickten.com. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
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  65. "UNESCO World Heritage official website listing".
  66. Hakatere Conservation Park, Department of Conservation website. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
  67. "What are the populations served by DHBs? - FAQs about DHBs - Ministry of Health". Retrieved 11 May 2009. . Population based on Statistics New Zealand population projections in September 2007.
  68. [4] Archived 23 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  69. "New Zealand Flying Doctor Service". Airrescue.co.nz. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  70. "Muslim University Students' Association website". Otagomusa.wordpress.com. 28 May 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  71. Distance between Mecca and Dunedin is 14,811.44 Kilometers according to http://www.geodatasource.com/distancecalculator.aspx
  72. "GamesBids.com". GamesBids.com.
  73. Greenhill, Marc (17 January 2011). "Winter Olympics bid 'ambitious'". The Press. Retrieved 12 November 2011.

South Island: Further reading

  • Atkinson, Brett, et al. New Zealand's South Island (2010) excerpt and text search
  • Bull, Mary P. (2004). New Zealand Tales and Tours: South Island Adventures. Trafford Publishing.
  • South Island travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • South Island
  • South Island Road Map
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