The South Island is the bigger of the two main islands of New Zealand, the other being the further crowded 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 151,215 square kilometres (58,384 sq mi) and is influenced by a temperate climate.
The South land mass is now and again called the "mainland". While it has a 33% superior landmass than the North Island, only 24% of New Zealand's 4.4 million inhabitants be alive in the South Island. 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% of the population living in the North in 1911, and the drift north of people and businesses continued throughout the century.
Even though the island has been recognized as the South Island for several years, the New Zealand Geographic panel has establish that, along with the North Island, it has no official forename. 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 Commissioner Erima Henare sees Te Wai Pounamu 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.
In the 19th century, a number of maps named the South Island as Center Island or New Munster, and the name South Island or New Leinster was worn 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".
The South Island wealth is powerfully focused on tourism and primary industries like cultivation. 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 Manapouri. 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 main stations generating electrical energy: Clyde Dam and Roxburgh Dam . 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.