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New Caledonia Travel Guide


Tiendanite, the home village of former FLNKS leader Jean-Marie Tjibaou, has a special place in the history of New Caledonia. Fourteen Kanaks from this village were killed in a 1914 uprising against the French. During the 1917 uprising, the village was burnt to the ground, the men sent to prison in Nouméa, the women to work as servants for the colons. Later, Tjibaou's grandfather assembled some people to rebuild the village.

In 1984, 10 men from this village of 120 people were brutally murdered by French colons who were eventually set free by a French jury.

Eight km up the river from Hienghène on a rough gravel road are the rusting wrecks of two small trucks flanked by a flagpole and strips of cloth marking the spot where 10 men from Tiendanite were killed by French settlers on December 5, 1984, in the Wan'yaat ambush. A black marble stone bears their epitaph and names.

The road continues along the Hienghène River another five km, to a turning to the left and a bridge across the river. A side road runs up a small stream four km to Tiendanite village, deep in the mountains. The 10 victims of the Wan'yaat ambush are buried in a row next to the Catholic church in the village. The grave of Jean-Marie Tjibaou (1936-1989) is on the opposite hill facing the church.