In the nineteenth century, in an archipelago lost in the middle of the South Pacific, two opposed nations were brutally put face to face. Since then, Kanak and Europeans are living together in New Caledonia as best they can. Their history is marked by violently repressed revolts, forced reconciliations and difficult negotiations to outline the contours of a true common destiny. As before them South Africans or Irish, they must today transform the cohabitation imposed by a distant ruler into a living together chosen on the basis of shared values.

Since the Ouvéa tragedy of 1988, when the taking of hostages of gendarmes by Kanak separatists ended in a bloodbath, the shadows and lights of colonization were recognized, and the Kanak culture was placed at the center of the process.

Various political agreements have organized the sharing of power and the distribution of wealth between the first Kanak nation, the Europeans -descendants of convicts, communists or free settlers – and the Asian and Oceanian communities called in reinforcement over the years to develop the country.

The 1988 Matignon-Oudinot Agreements, signed in the aftermath of the Ouvéa massacre, divided the territory into three provinces – North, South and Loyalty Islands – and provided them with vast powers to reduce geographical imbalances and boost economic growth.

The 1998 Noumea Agreements, signed ten years later, pushed the independence issue back to 2018 and strengthened the ongoing autonomy process. It makes New Caledonia an original institutional and legal laboratory.

Twenty years have passed, now is the time for New Caledonians to say whether they want to complete the process of independence or not. In November 2018, they will go to the polls to say yes or no to lay the foundations of a sovereign nation, totally independent or associated with France.

Patrick Benquet

After having studied law, Patrick Benquet first works as a newspaper journalist (Libération, Le Monde), before running a youth magazine called “Antirouille”. In 1991, he starts writing then directing documentaries.

For thirty years now, he has been co-writing and directing 31 documentaries, and shooting some magazine reports and a few 26 minutes dramas. He tackled every kind of topics: French society (school, crime, town planning, news…); economic and geo strategic issues such as outsourcing, coastal piracy, climate change, pedophilia networks, north-south connections.

Amongst all the films :
Witness X1, children are dying , When Mary, the Virgin appears , Oil of shame, The law of silence, One dollar a day, Rainy time on planet earth, Libération je t’aime, moi non plus, The French Doctors, Françafrique, The Wendel empire and Nuclear, the French dead end.

Anne Pitoiset

Graduated from the Institut Supérieur de Gestion in Paris then journalist for Reuters from 1984 to 2000, Anne Pitoiset moved to New Caledonia in 2000 and teaches at the University of New Caledonia in economic anthropology, relations between mining companies and indigenous peoples. She is an author, director and producer of documentary films and conducts socio-economic investigations for the print and television media.

Documentaries made for television with director Laurent Cibien:

“Nickel, the treasure of Kanak” (2013) – For 40 years, Kanaks have been fighting for their independence. the weapon they use today to reach their end is called nickel. to finance their future state, they open mines, build factories and play their fate in the commodities market.

This film won the Grand Prize of the France Télévisions Jury at the FIFO (International Festival of Documentary Oceania) 2014 and the 1st prize of the festival Gaudeloupe Terra (2014).

Tavaka, stories of islands and exile (2013) – In the heart of the Pacific, the island of Wallis depopulates inexorably. In search of a better life, its inhabitants leave this kingdom, deeply rooted in tradition, for the opulent New Caledonia.

“Génération Matignon” (2011) – Young Caledonians speak about their vision of the country’s future.


Soon on France Ô and Nouvelle Calédonie 1ère

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