Last modified: 2012-10-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: new caledonia | noumea | bird (blue) | kagu | caduceus (blue) | tontouta airport | chamber of commerce and industry |
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Municipal flag of Nouméa
Left, 2003 - Image by Pascal Gross & Jens Pattke, 13 May 2006
Right, 2004 - Image by Pascal Gross, 13 May 2006
Nouméa (76,293 inhabitants in 1996; 5,000 ha) is the capital city of
Nouméa was founded as Port-de-France in 1854 by Captain Tardy de Montravel. The site was selected because of its harbour, which has deep water and is protected from the main winds. In 1855, the Engineers' officer Paul Coffyn was commissioned to draw the map of the new city; Coffyn's draft was revised in 1869. The municipality of Port-de-France, founded on 26 June 1859, was renamed Nouméa on 2 June 1866. The city developed around Fort Constantine, today replaced by the Gaston Bourret hospital. New boroughs were created after the draining and filling up of the marshy areas. The port of Nouméa was developed at the same time. Water was brought from the river Yahoué by a canal, replaced in 1893 by a water main from the river Dumbéa.
In the 1880s, the municipality provided gas street lighting, phone and public transportation. A railway was planned between Nouméa and Bourail but limited to the Nouméa-Païta line, inaugurated in 1914.
During the Second World War, Nouméa, already the economical capital city of the island, became the strategic capital of the American forces stationed on the island.
The Ducos paeninsula, named by Tardy de Montravel in 1854, was
originally linked to the main island only by a thin stripe of sand just
above the water and separated from the center of Nouméa by a big marshy
area. In 1872, the French government decided to use it as a deportation
camp, in spite of the protest of the municipal council of Nouméa, that
used the place as a quarantine camp for cattle and a fishing reserve.
On 28 September 1872, the ship La Danaé brought the first convicts
jailed in the camp of Numbo. Two more camps were set up, one of them
being for the convict women (including Louise Michel) and the convicts'
women and children. The former "anse Richard" was renamed "baie des
Dames". The camps progressively covered the whole paeninsula, which was
linked to the main island by a wooden gangway. The first dyke was built
in 1936. The last remain of the camps is the warders' cemetary, located
at the end of the bay of Numbo.
During the Second World War, the US Army set up in Ducos a deep-water harbour, a seaplane base, military camps and warehouses. The paeninsula is today divided in seven boroughs where most of the industries in Nouméa and New Caledonia are concentrated.
Source: Municipal website
Ivan Sache, 13 May 2006
Two versions of the municipal flag of Noumza have been reported, both made of a white flag with a representation of the municipal coat of arms in the middle. On 23 July 2003, Olivier Touzeau saw the flag on TV images of the visit of President of the Republic Jacques Chirac in Nouméa; the municipal flag of Nouméa was then charged with a multicoloured version of the coat of arms. In July 2004, Nozomi Karyasu reported the municipal flag he had seen in multiple copies in Nouméa with the coat of arms in white and turquoise blue. This seems to be the reverse of the current municipal logotype, as shown on the municipal website.
As explained in a letter recieved by Jens Pattke from the municipal administration of Nouméa, the municipal coat of arms was adopted in 1997 by Decision 82/97 (Délibération adoptant le blason de la ville de Nouméa). The coat of arms existed earlier since an article in the newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes, 13 August 1991, quoted by Pascal Vagnat, gives the blazon of the arms as:
D'azur au vaisseau d'or habillé d'argent accompagné au canton dextre d'un soleil d'or, l'écu timbré d'un cagou posté, éployé d'argent, becqué, membré et animé de gueules. Les supports sont deux hippocampes d'argent. La devise est "Nouméa" en lettres de sable sur listel d'or.
Azur a vessel or [...] in dexter canton a sun or, the shield surmounted by a kagu argent [...]. The supporters are two sea horses argent. The motto Nouméa is written in letters sable on a listel or.
There are 197 species of birds recorded in New Caledonia, among which
23 are endemic, that is not found anywhere else in the wild. The
International Union for Nature Conservation (UICN) has listed 17
endemic forest birds of New Caledonia on the Red List of endangered
species, which includes 1,211 bird species worldwide. The most famous
of them and the emblematic bird of New Caledonia is the kagu.
The kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus) is the only member of the genus Rhynochetos, which is the only member of the family Rhynochetidae. It was trapped by the Melanesians, and later by the Europeans, for pet and plume trade. The bird retreated to the interior of the island, where its habitat was destroyed by nickel mining. The species is now threatened by feral dogs and pigs; predation by cats and rats is not documented. The kagu has full legal protection since 1977. It is believed than less than 1,000 kagus still live in New Caledonia, mostly in the South Province.
Most scientific publications on kagu were made by Dr. Gavin Hunt, now with the Department of Psychology of the University of Auckland, New Zeland and working on tool-making ability in New Caledonian crows. Dr. Hunt worked on bird conservation in New Caledonia from 1991 to 1995 and defended in 1997 in Massey University his Ph.D. Thesis entitled: Ecology and conservation of the Kagu Rhynochetos jubatus of New Caledonia.
He wrote the chapter on kagu in two references books:
Hunt, G.R. (2002). Kagu. In Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, Vol. 10: Birds. Gale Publishing Group, Farmington Hills, MI.
Hunt, G.R. (1996). Rhynochetidae (Kagu). Pp. 218-225 In (Eds. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J.) Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol. 3. Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
Ivan Sache, 13 May 2006
Flag of CCI New Caledonia - Image by Kazutaka Nishiura, 23 November 2009
Tontouta Airport ay Nouméa is managed by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New Caledonia. The "generic" CCI flag is used at the airport, although CCI New Caledonia has a slightly different emblem, with a blue map of the archipelago in the white disk.
Nozomi Karyasu & Ivan Sache, 23 November 2009