Behold the wonders of New Caledonia's indigenous Kanak culture at the Tjibaou Cultural Center, a complex of galleries and performance spaces that celebrate native life.
From the pier, you'll transfer directly to the Tjibaou Cultural Center. Even from the outside, it's stunning, as the center's collection of sail-like pavilions was patterned after the traditional thatched huts of the native Kanaks. Designed in the late 1990s by Italian architect Renzo Piano (winner of the 1998 Pritzker prize), the center was named for Jean-Marie Tjibaou, the assassinated leader of an independence movement who envisioned a place where the artistic and linguistic heritage of the Kanaks would be celebrated. This is Tjibaou's dream realized.
Your guided tour begins by walking the Kanak path, which tells the story of man's creation through the myths and beliefs of the Kanak society. The path is lined with indigenous medicinal plants cited in the myths, further underlining the importance of the bond between nature and the Kanak people. There are also several gardens representing topics such as rebirth, the duality of men and women, and the spiritual relationship between the visible and invisible worlds.
The exhibits inside the center's three separate villages reveal the Kanak culture through painting, sculpture and traditional music and dance performances. One of the most moving exhibits is devoted to the life and work of Tjibaou.
After approximately two enlightening hours at the center, you'll return to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 90-minutes of moderate walking/standing and there are some stairs and hilly terrain to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Light-weight clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.