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Culture of New Caledonia


Wood carving, especially of the houp (Montrouziera cauliflora), is a contemporary reflection of the beliefs of the traditional tribal society, and includes totems, masks, chambranles, or flèche faîtière, a kind of arrow which adorns the roofs of Kanak houses. Basketry is a craft widely practiced by tribal women, creating objects of daily use.


The Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and opened in 1998, is the icon of the Kanak culture.

The Kaneka is a form of local music, inspired by reggae and originating in the 1980s.

The Mwâ Ka is a 12m totem pole commemorating the French annexation of New Caledonia, and was inaugurated in 2005.


Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes is the only daily newspaper in the archipelago. A monthly publication, Le chien bleu, parodies the news from New Caledonia.

There are five radio stations: the public service broadcaster RFO radio Nouvelle-Calédonie, Océane FM, Radio Djido (established by Jean-Marie Tjibaou), NRJ and Radio Rythmes Bleus.

As for television, the public service broadcaster RFO Nouvelle-Calédonie has two channels: Télé Nouvelle-Calédonie, dedicated partly to local programming and newscasts and Tempo, which retransmits French programmes.

 Canal+ relays the programming of Canal + France, and CanalSat proposes 17 digital channels in French. Analogue television broadcasts ended in September 2011, completing the digital television transition in New Caledonia.The French broadcasting authorities are considering bids for two new local television stations, NCTV and NC9, planned to be launched in 2012.

The media are considered to be able to operate freely, but Reporters Without Borders raised concerns in 2006 about "threats and intimidation" of RFO staff by members of a pro-independence group.


The largest sporting event to be held in New Caledonia is a round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).

The New Caledonia football team began playing in 1951, and was admitted into FIFA, the international association of football leagues, in 2004. Prior to joining FIFA, New Caledonia held observer status with the Oceania Football Confederation, and became an official member of the OFC with its FIFA membership. 

They have won the South Pacific Games five times, most recently in 2007, and have placed third on two occasions in the OFC Nations Cup. Christian Karembeu is a prominent New Caledonian former footballer.

Horse racing is also very popular in New Caledonia, as are women's cricket matches.

The Rugby league team participated in the Pacific Cup in 2004.

New Caledonia also has a national synchronised swimming team which tours abroad.

The "Tour Cycliste de Nouvelle Caledonie" is a multi-day cycling stage race that is held usually in October. The race is organised by the Comite Cycliste New Caledonia. The race attracts riders from Australia, New Zealand, France, Reunion, Europe and Tahiti. Australian Brendan Washington has finished last three times in the race between 2005-2009, and is known in New Caledonia as "The Lanterne Rouge".

The New Caledonia Handball team won the Oceania Handball Nations Cup in 2008 held in Wellington, New Zealand. They beat Australia in the final.


Due to low levels of domestic horticulture, fresh tropical fruits feature less highly in New Caledonian cuisine than in other Pacific nations, instead relying on rice, fish and root vegetables such as taro. One way this is frequently prepared is in a buried oven style feast, known as Bougna. Wrapped in banana leaves, the fish, taro, banana and other seafood are buried with hot rocks, then dug up and eaten.