Discover the Pacific region’s rich and varied indigenous culture at the Tjibaou Cultural Centre, a complex of galleries and performance spaces celebrating Kanak life. It is also one of the Oceania’s finest examples of modern architecture. The centre’s collection of sail-like pavilions was patterned after the traditional huts of the native Kanaks. Designed in the late 1990s by Italian architect Renzo Piano (winner of the 1998 Pritzker prize), and named after 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. Begin your guided walking tour along the Kanak path, which tells the story of man's creation through the myths and beliefs of Kanak society. Indigenous medicinal plants line the path and underline the importance of the bond between nature and the Kanak people. There are several gardens representing topics including rebirth, the duality of men and women and the spiritual relationship between the visible and invisible worlds. The exhibits inside the centre’s three separate villages reveal the Kanak culture through painting and sculpture. One of the most moving exhibits is devoted to the life and work of Tjibaou.
Tour participation and exhibits is limited. Gift shop at the center is closed on Mondays and during cruises that do not include a full day call in Noumea. Wear comfortable warm-weather clothing and walking shoes. Bring a hat and adequate sun protection. Please fill your water bottle before leaving the ship.