New Caledonia culture is alive in this corner of the South Pacific with an estimated 40 per cent of the archipelago’s total population still made up of the Kanak people. Dedicated to Kanak culture is the architecturally spectacular Tjibaou Cultural Centre in Nouméa. Nestled between Magenta and Tina bays in the Tina Peninsula, the curved wooden structures rise above surrounding woodland and mangroves in this preserved natural site. Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the Cultural Centre was designed to replicate the island’s traditional architecture and houses a museum, performance spaces, a library and an art centre.
Inside the monument, which is named after Kanak leader Jean-Marie Tjibaou, visitors will find sculptures, paintings, photographs and regular dance performances that represent Kanak and Pacific culture. Outside the hut-like buildings are a botanical garden and the winding Kanak path, which outlines the importance of nature to the Kanak people and the myth of the creation of man.
Get the timing right and you’ll even be treated to a performance by the We Ce Ca group, proving the Tjibaou Cultural Centre is a totally immersive Kanak cultural experience.
Entry is $US9 with concessions and children under 12 free.
The Tjibaou Cultural Centre is open 9am to 5pm every day except Monday.