In this episode we’ll be talking about the New Caledonia, a French unique collectivity in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, about 900 miles (1,500 km) east of Australia. It includes the island of New Caledonia, where the capital, Nouméa, is located; the Loyalty Islands; the Bélep Islands; and the Isle of Pines as well as a number of far-flung uninhabited islets.
The main island is by far the largest and contains about nine-tenths of the population. It is surrounded by a coral reef, which encloses a large number of lagoons. These lagoons, with their diverse reefs and associated ecosystems, were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. Sighted and named by Captain James Cook in 1774, it was later colonised by the French and turned into a penal colony.
New Caledonia has a land area of around 18,000 km2 (or 7,000 sq mi), making it just slightly smaller than Israel or the US state of New Jersey. Its population of around 270,000 consists mostly of a mix of Kanak people (the original inhabitants of New Caledonia), other Melanisians and people of European descent.
Your hosts are Luke Kelly in Hong Kong (@thelukejkelly), Joe Byrne in Bern, Switzerland (@anbeirneach), Mark Boyle in Surrey in the UK (@markboyle86) and our guest John Killeen (@johnkilleen90), who visited New Caledonia last year. Theme music by Thomas O’Boyle (@thatthomasfella)
Here are a few handy links for learning more about New Caledonia;
- You can learn more about the New Caledonian upcoming independence referendum here on Wikipedia. The referendum is due to take place on November 4th, 2018, although according to a recent report by Radio New Zealand, support for independence is waning.
- There’s a handy map of Captain Cook’s voyages around the world on Encyclopedia Britannica. He’s a man worth knowing about!
- Here’s an image of the weird forked flagpole we described in this episode.
- More info on the delicious-sounding New Caledonian dish Bougna can be found here.
- The US government film used in this episode is entitled ‘Our Troops in New Caledonia’ and can be found on Archive.org
- Find more on the ridiculously easy to hunt Kagu bird here.
- You can view the photos that are described in this episode (courtesy of our friend John Killeen) below. None of John in the bath just yet, unfortunately.
The music you heard in this episode was from the following sources;
- New Caledonia Melanisian Dancing via Vic Stefanu – World Travels and Adventures
- Disques Pathé ; Phonothèque Nationale ; Université de Paris, Musée de la parole from Collection Brailoiu
- Kini Kinibut by Ok! Ryos
- “Puzzle pieces” by Lee Rosevere, used under Creative Commons 4.0 License (by attribution)
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