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New Caledonia – The Archipelago of Kanak

The archipelago of New Caledonia, which includes the Loyalty Islands and was first populated about 50,000 years ago by the Lapita people; highly skilled navigators who could read the stars and moon, were crafters of fine outrigger canoes and carried numerous people and plants across the sea and agriculturists to begin a new life on a new land. They arrived in their outrigger boats and built La Grande Case, conical houses, for their chiefs.

Then the Europeans arrived in their tall ships, with sails flying high. They brought their diseases, the sandalwood was stripped from the land and the whalers ravaged the seas. The population declined even further with the practice of black-birding. Then after all of that they insisted that the indigenous people should wear clothes to cover themselves. Further introducing cricket and tea.

The city of Noumea is often referred to as ‘a little piece of France in the South Pacific‘ where the French provincial town blends in harmony with the Melanesian culture; the French with their European style combines with the Kanak. In many ways the islands remain unchanged, ancient stories are told and retold, the air fills with wood smoke as the evening meal is prepared, the ancient sound of the beating of tapa fills the air and the rhythmic sound of the drums echo through the valleys.

Download 41 minutes ‘NEW CALEDONIA – the archipelago of Kanak’

Cultural center
Cultural Centre – Noumea New Caledonia
We - Lifou
We – Lifou conical ceremonial structure
Nomea – New Caledonia