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). 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.
Historic provinces of the South Island: