Circumnavigating Grande Terre: Heinghene

Hienghene was the highlight of the east coast segment. The natural beauty of this area is stunning – perhaps that is why there is a BIG dock in the middle of town for landing the shuttle boats from a visiting cruise ship. Possibly because of the global financial crisis, there were no other visible tourists.

Hienghene is the home of Kanak hero/politician Jean-Marie Tjibaou – who of course is the man honored by the remarkable Tjibaou Culture Center. (our most recent visit to the center is described here).

A highlight of our time in Hienghene was exploring the Goa Ma Bwarhat Cultural Center which was also inspired by Jean-Marie Tjibaou. This center is a good source for understanding Kanak culture, and of the history of the political ferment that was the basis of Tjibaou’s popularity (and which led to his assassination 4 May 1989 in Ouvea).

The coastal maritime domain of Hienghene is considered to be the richest zone in marine biodiversity in New Caledonia. This region is on the World Heritage List, including a great diversity of coral forms, extensive marine turtle nesting sites, and breeding areas for threatened species such as dugongs, humpback whales and marine birds.

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