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New Caledonia

New Caledonia: Political System

New Caledonia was French overseas territory until May 5, 1998. It has been a French overseas country ever since. The latter has more autonomy than, for example, an overseas territory.

New Caledonia: Political System

In contrast to the other overseas territories, New Caledonia has complete internal autonomy. France is only responsible for the judiciary, education and defense system, as well as for the police and the currency.

According to, the official name of the country is:

New Caledonia

Collectivité d´outre mer

The French President is the country's formal head of state. In New Caledonia itself, this is represented by a High Commissioner.

The congress with 54 members consists of the state parliaments, 32 members from the South, 17 members from the North and 7 members from the Loyalty Islands. Elections are made every five years.

The country is divided into three administrative districts. In the north and south on the main island and in the Loyalty Islands. There are always strong tensions between the north and south districts.

Anyone born in New Caledonia is a French citizen and can e.g. B. participate in the elections for the French President.

New Caledonia has two envoys for the National Assembly in Paris and a senator.

National anthem

The national anthem of New Caledonia is the Marseillaise. The text of the Marseillaise, both in French and in English translation, can be found under France.

National flag

Based on flag descriptions by, the official national flag (country flag) of New Caledonia is that of France. But on July 13, 2010 there was a wish to adopt the flag shown below - in conjunction with the flag of France. So far the flag has not been officially adopted.

New Caledonia flag and coat of arms

New Caledonia: Known People

Visual artist

  • Paula Boi, contemporary painter
  • Yvon Jauneau, contemporary painter
  • Noram Song, contemporary sculptor
  • Denise Taivouane, contemporary sculptor, outdoor installation artist
  • Bob Upigit, contemporary painter
  • Maryline Thydjepache, contemporary painter
  • Yvette Bouquet, contemporary painter
  • Fritz Sarasin, photographer in the 1920s

New Caledonia: animals


As is so often the case on the South Pacific islands, fruit bats such as the long-tailed fruit bat and bats are the only native mammals. Others like wild boars, dogs, cats and rats came to the islands through humans.


The national bird of New Caledonia is the kagu, which can only be found here. At about 55 cm, it is the largest flightless bird in the Pacific Islands and forms a family of its own, of which it is the only representative. Characteristic are the long, orange-red legs as well as the red beak and the hood on the head. The plumage is gray with a bluish tinge. The kagu living in the forests is now threatened, not least because of the dogs and cats that have been introduced to New Caledonia and the fact that the kagu only lays one egg a year.

Other birds found in New Caledonia include flycatchers, spectacled birds, pigeons, honey-eaters, and parrots. The blackish-green uvea-horned parakeet and the endemic giant pigeon are on the verge of extinction. The split-winged pigeon, the New Caledonia wood rail, the New Caledonia lori and the New Caledonia cave swallow are also endemic. The last three have not been seen for a long time and are probably already extinct.


The 30 to 35 cm large giant gecko is one of the endemic reptiles (only found in New Caledonia). It lives on trees in the coastal forests, where it is difficult to spot thanks to the camouflage of its body pattern. He has a flat build and large eyes, which are the most important sense organs. Typical of geckos are the sticky lamellae on the soles of their feet, which allow vertical climbing even on absolutely smooth surfaces (such as glass). Another characteristic is the shedding of the tail in danger. The fidgeting tail is supposed to distract the attacker from the gecko so that he can get to safety. The tail then grows back. In addition to frogs, mice and lizards, it also eats flowers and fruits.

There are around 70 species of reptiles in total, 60 of which are endemic. Most of them are geckos, but there is also an endemic family of skinks.

The non-venomous snakes include the Pacific boa and the genus of worm snakes from the blind snake family.

Poisonous animals

There are numerous sea snakes around New Caledonia. Although many are not dangerous to humans, some of the animals are very poisonous. This includes, for example, the sea cobra.

Invertebrates, insects, spiders

New Caledonia is rich in snails, although only half of the 400 to 600 species have been described to date. Most of these snails are endemic, while the largest species reach a size of 15 cm. The insect world is also very diverse.

Underwater world

Grande Terre is surrounded by a 1,600 km long coral reef. This offers a home for rays, manta rays, moray eels, sea turtles, reef sharks, seahorses and also sea snakes. Carp, loaches, eels, pike and the endangered red mullet cavort in the fish-rich waters.

New Caledonia: plants


The most common trees are the Araucarias, with the Araucaria columnaris, a 30-45 m large pine with up to 2 m long branches, being the most dominant representative. These are the pine trees that gave the Isle de Pines its name.

Typical trees in the southern hemisphere are the false beeches, also known as southern beeches. In the west of the main island of Grande Terre, rubber trees and niaouli trees grow, the latter being typical for the north and west of the island.

There are extensive areas of mangrove swamps as well as sandalwood forests and banyan trees. The latter are a botanical specialty and are among the largest living organisms in the world.

The banyan tree is also known as the strangler fig or Bengal fig. He is a hemiepiphyte, which means that the rhizome (root stock) of this plant rises up on tree trunks, but roots in the ground. By being anchored in the ground, the plant is supplied with nutrients and the aerial roots become thicker and lignified. Over time they develop into strains with e.g. T. enormous diameter. When the roots touch, they fuse, creating a dense network around the host tree. In this way, its main vessels are pinched off and it dies. Banyan trees are fast-growing and can reach a size of over 30 m. What is more impressive, however, is its scope. The largest banyan tree is in Calcutta. The tree is sacred to many peoples because it is regarded as the seat of spirits.

Other trees are pines in the south of Grande Terre and Kauri spruces. These can live up to 60 m high and up to 2000 years old, with a circumference of up to 13 m. They are also widespread in New Zealand, but the population has shrunk considerably and so these trees are now under nature protection. The west coast of Grande Terre is bordered by grassland savannahs.


Avocados, oranges, pineapples and rice are grown for export.

Yams and taro are an integral part of the local diet. The latter is also known under the name taro. This tuber plant belongs to the arum family and forms perennial, up to 2 m high bushes with upright growth. Its heart-shaped leaves are dark green with a fine, white coating and often have a diameter of 60 cm. The tuberous, thickened roots are mainly used, and are prepared like potatoes. Young taro leaves are also used as vegetables.

Manioc is also known as cassava or bread root. The plant belongs to the milkweed family. It grows up to 3 m high, has a bushy habit and greenish-yellow flowers. The starchy, up to 8 cm thick and up to 90 cm long tubers are used. All parts of the plant contain a toxin that is destroyed by washing out and exposure to heat. This makes the cassava palatable.

Medicinal plants

The essential oil of the Niaouli tree is versatile. It has a stimulating effect on the heart and circulatory system, and its expectorant properties make it widely used in diseases of the respiratory tract and in flu-like infections. It is still used for low back pain and is also said to have wound healing effects. On rare occasions, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may occur, and the essential oil should not be used on the face in children.

Introduced plants

The breadfruit tree imported from India is widespread. This is bulky and has large leaves up to half a meter long and fruit clusters weighing up to 5 kg. The elongated, round breadfruit of the tree has a green, prickly skin and grows at a height of 2 m. In Europe it is cooked and eaten as a vegetable.






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