Savai'i is the largest (area 1700 km2) and highest (Mt Silisili at 1,858 m) island in Samoa and the Samoa Islands chain. The island is the fifth largest in Polynesia, behind the two main islands of New Zealand and the Hawaiian Islands of Hawaii and Maui.
The island of Savai'i is also referred to by Samoans as Salafai, a classical Samoan term used in oratory and prose. The island is home to 43,142 people (2006 Census) who make up 24% of the country's population. Savai'i is made up of six itūmālō (political districts). Each district is made up of villages with strong traditional ties of kinship, history, land and matai chief titles.
The island is the largest shield volcano in the South Pacific with recent eruptions in the early 1900s. The central region comprises the Central Savai'i Rainforest that with 72,699 hectares (727 km2) forms the largest continuous patch of rainforest in Polynesia. It is dotted with more than 100 volcanic craters and contains most of Samoa's native species of flora and fauna, making it globally significant in world conservation areas.