Belep (sometimes unofficially spelled Bélep) is a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It has almost 900 people living on 70 km2.

The commune's territory is made up of the Belep Islands (also known as the Belep Archipelago), which lie to the north of New Caledonia's mainland. The two principal islands in the Belep Archipelago are Art Island (a.k.a. Aar) and Pott Island fr (a.k.a. Phwoc). The rest of the archipelago consists of the Northern and Southern Daos Islands, and several very small islets.

The administrative centre of the commune is the settlement of Waala, on Art Island, the largest of the Belep Islands. The local language is Nyêlâyu.[1]

Location of the commune (in red) within New Caledonia
Location of the commune (in red) within New Caledonia
Location of Belep
Coordinates: 19°45′00″S 163°40′00″E / 19.75°S 163.6667°ECoordinates: 19°45′00″S 163°40′00″E / 19.75°S 163.6667°E
Sui generis collectivityNew Caledonia
ProvinceNorth Province
 • MayorJean-Baptiste Moilou
69.5 km2 (26.8 sq mi)
 (2014 census)
 • Density12/km2 (31/sq mi)
Ethnic distribution
 • 1996 censusKanaks 94.3%
Mestizos 5.4%
Vanuatuans 0.1%
Tahitians 0.1
Indonesians 0.1%
Time zoneUTC+11:00
INSEE/Postal code
98801 /98811
Elevation0–283 m (0–928 ft)
(avg. 20 m or 66 ft)
1 New Caledonia Land Register (DITTT) data, which exclude lakes and ponds larger than 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) as well as the estuaries of rivers.


The Belep Islands were named after a Kanak chief who settled there in ancient times. A Catholic mission was founded in Belep in 1856 by Pierre Lambert (1822-1903) but only lasted until 1863. The Marists later returned, and another priest Marie-Joseph Dubois (1913-1998), who lived there 1940-1941, wrote a history of Bélep in 1985.

In 1879, following a widespread Kanak rebellion led by Ataï, some of the insurgents were temporarily moved from Grande Terre to the islands as punishment. The islands were the site of a leper colony between 1892 and 1898 during which time the islanders were exiled to Balade and suffered greatly. On their return, they were not allowed to reoccupy Isle Pott, taken by a colonial copra farmer, monsieur Mary, permitted by government authority.[2]. It took the clans until the 1950s to buy it back.[3]

The standard of living in Belep has risen since the 1950s, in common with other outlying parts of New Caledonia. However traditions and language are strongly maintained, only hafl the population can speak French, and few residents have any school certificates having only attended until the age of 12[4]. Around 1955, an airstrip was built in Waala and there are flights, but it is the least frequented AirCal route.[5] Passenger boats to Koumac and Poum are irregular. A modern medical clinic, serviced by a French doctor and nurses, was also built. Waala has the only primary school, shops, church, and post office. In 1961, Belep became a commune; its first mayor was elected in 1969. In the 1980s, when the movement for Kanak independence became violent (Les Evènements) some Belema migrated to the Mainland to escape political divisions.[6]

Belep struggles to obtain resources from the territorial government and there is still no schooling beyond primary level (children then have to attend boarding school on Grande Terre, in Poum for example). Settlement, disrupted by events in the 19th century, has concentrated clans in Waala. Alcoholism is a serious problem and there have been violent episodes, including the killing of a clinic staff member in 2003[7]

In August 2016 a large bushfire ravaged Isle Art.


The economy is reliant on fishing, the main commercial activity. Around 40% of all registered business are in the fisheries sector. The reef fish Scomberomorus commerson, a mackerel, is caught and over 20 tonnes a year are sold. Scallops (Amusium japonicum balloti) are sold to SAS West Pacific Scallops, an Australian company, destined for Australia and Asia. The scallop trade is supported by the Northern Province and 20% by the clans. It has provided some training and prevented youth from migrating to Grande Terre.[8]

There are small cobalt reserves, exploited unsuccessfully in the 19th century. [9]

Belep has no tourist facilities and no accommodation for visitors.

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  2. ^ French wiki version
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  7. ^ HAMELIN, C., C. SALOMON, R. SITTA, A. GUEGUEN and D. CYR. 2009. Childhood sexual abuse and adult binge drinking among Kanak women in New Caledonia. Social Science & Medicine 68(7): 1247-1253.
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2015 New Caledonia Super Ligue

The New Caledonia Super Ligue 2015 season was the 42nd season of the FCF since its establishment in 1962. The champions were chosen to represent the New Caledonia Super Ligue in the 2017 OFC Champions League.

2016 New Caledonia Super Ligue

The New Caledonia Super Ligue 2016 was the 43rd season of top-tier Caledonian football. It started on 3 March and ended on 3 December 2016. Thirteen teams took part in the championship. The two teams with the highest number of points were chosen to represent New Caledonia in the group stage of the 2018 OFC Champions League.

2017 New Caledonia Super Ligue

The New Caledonia Super Ligue 2017 is the 44th season of top-tier Caledonian football. It started on 18 March 2017. Twelve teams take part in the championship.The top two teams of the league, Hienghène Sport and AS Magenta, qualified for the 2019 OFC Champions League.

Administrative divisions of New Caledonia

The French special collectivity of New Caledonia is divided into three provinces, which in turn are divided into 33 communes. There is also a system of eight tribal areas for the indigenous Kanak people, and three decentralized subdivisions.

Art Island

Art Island (Île d'Art) is the largest of the Belep Islands archipelago in New Caledonia. It has an area of 53 km² (20 sq. miles). Its chief settlement is Waala, which is also the capital of Belep commune.

Flore de la Nouvelle-Calédonie

Flore de la Nouvelle-Calédonie is an ongoing multi-volume flora describing the vascular plants of New Caledonia (including the Loyalty Islands, Isles of Pines and Belep islands) in the South-West Pacific. published by the National Museum of Natural History in Paris since 1967. Each species treatment typically includes taxonomic information, morphological description, a line drawing and a distribution map. Originally published as Flore de la Nouvelle-Calédonie et Dépendances, since 2014 it has been renamed shortly Flore de la Nouvelle-Calédonie and is co-published with Institut de Recherche pour le Développement in a fully colored format.

Flore de la Nouvelle-Calédonie currently consists of 26 volumes, covering little over 50% of a total of approximately 3,400 species native to the New Caledonian archipelago. Major botanical families awaiting treatment include Rubiaceae, Cyperaceae, Rutaceae and Poaceae.

Geography of New Caledonia

The geography of New Caledonia (Nouvelle-Calédonie), an overseas collectivity of France located in the subregion of Melanesia, makes the continental island group unique in the southwest Pacific. Among other things, the island chain has played a role in preserving unique biological lineages from the Mesozoic. It served as a waystation in the expansion of the predecessors of the Polynesians, the Lapita culture. Under the Free French it was a vital naval base for Allied Forces during the War in the Pacific.

The archipelago is located east of Australia, north of New Zealand, south of the Equator, and just west of Fiji and Vanuatu. New Caledonia comprises a main island, Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, and several smaller islands. Approximately half the size of Taiwan, the group has a land area of 18,575.5 square kilometres (7,172.0 square miles). The islands have a coastline of 2,254 km (1,401 mi). New Caledonia claims an exclusive fishing zone to a distance of 200 nmi or 370 km or 230 mi and a territorial sea of 12 nmi (22 km; 14 mi) from shore.

New Caledonia is one of the northernmost parts of an almost entirely (93%) submerged continent called Zealandia which rifted away from Antarctica between 130 and 85 million years ago (mya), and from Australia 85–60 mya. (Most of the elongated triangular continental mass of Zealandia is a subsurface plateau. New Zealand is a mountainous above-water promontory in its center, and New Caledonia is a promontory ridge on the continent's northern edge.) New Caledonia itself drifted away from Australia 66 mya, and subsequently drifted in a north-easterly direction, reaching its present position about 50 mya. Given its long stability and isolation, New Caledonia serves as a unique island refugium—a sort of biological 'ark'—hosting a unique ecosystem and preserving Gondwanan plant and animal lineages no longer found elsewhere.

List of airports in New Caledonia

This is a list of airports in New Caledonia, sorted by location.

New Caledonia (French: Nouvelle-Calédonie) is an overseas territory (territoire d'outre-mer or TOM) of France, made up of a main island (Grande Terre) and several smaller islands. It is located in the region of Melanesia in the southwest Pacific.

List of cities in New Caledonia

This article shows a list of cities, towns and villages in New Caledonia.

List of islands in the Pacific Ocean

The Pacific Islands are the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Three major groups of islands in the Pacific Ocean are Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia. Depending on the context, Pacific Islands may refer to countries and islands with common Austronesian origins, islands once or currently colonized or Oceania. The indigenous inhabitants of the Pacific Islands are referred to as Pacific Islanders. This is a list of many of the major Pacific islands, organized by archipelago or political unit. In order to keep this list of moderate size, links are given to more complete lists for countries with large numbers of small or uninhabited islands.

New Caledonia

New Caledonia (; French: Nouvelle-Calédonie) is a special collectivity of France in the southwest Pacific Ocean, located to the south of Vanuatu, about 1,210 km (750 mi) east of Australia and 20,000 km (12,000 mi) from Metropolitan France. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Chesterfield Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of Pines, and a few remote islets. The Chesterfield Islands are in the Coral Sea. Locals refer to Grande Terre as Le Caillou ("the pebble").New Caledonia has a land area of 18,576 km2 (7,172 sq mi). Its population of 268,767 (August 2014 census) consists of a mix of Kanak people (the original inhabitants of New Caledonia), people of European descent (Caldoches and Metropolitan French), Polynesian people (mostly Wallisians), and Southeast Asian people, as well as a few people of Pied-Noir and North African descent. The capital of the territory is Nouméa.

New Caledonia Second Level

New Caledonia Second Level is the Second division of the Fédération Calédonienne de Football in New Caledonia. It is located below the top level New Caledonia Division Honneur.

New Caledonia Super Ligue

New Caledonia Super Ligue is the top division of the Fédération Calédonienne de Football in New Caledonia. It is played as a double round robin between the top-4 clubs from the Division Honneur of Grande Terre and the champions of the Îles.

New Caledonia at the 2015 Pacific Games

New Caledonia competed at the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea from 4 to 18 July 2015. New Caledonia listed 354 competitors as of 4 July 2015. Four competitors were qualified in two sports.

New Caledonian barrier reef

The New Caledonian barrier reef is located in New Caledonia in the South Pacific, and is the longest continuous barrier reef in the world and the second largest after the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.

The New Caledonian barrier reef surrounds Grande Terre, New Caledonia's largest island, as well as the Ile des Pins and several smaller islands, reaching a length of 1,500 kilometres (930 mi). The reef encloses a lagoon of 24,000 square kilometres (9,300 sq mi), which has an average depth of 25 metres (82 ft). The reefs lie up to 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the shore, but extend almost 200 kilometres (120 mi) to the Entrecasteaux reefs in the northwest. This northwestern extension encloses the Belep Islands and other sand cays. Several natural passages open out to the ocean. The Boulari passage, which leads to Noumea, the capital and chief port of New Caledonia, is marked by the Amédée lighthouse.

New Caledonian languages

The thirty New Caledonian languages form a branch of the Southern Oceanic languages. Their speakers are known as Kanaks. One language is extinct, one is critically endangered, 4 are severely endangered, 5 are endangered, and another 5 are vulnerable to extinction.

Nyâlayu language

Nyelâyu (Yâlayu), more commonly known as Nyelâyu, is a Kanak language of northern New Caledonia, spoken by approximately 2,000 speakers. There are two dialects that are not mutually intelligible. Pooc (or Haat) is spoken in the Belep islands, which are located just north of Grande Terre. Puma (or Paak or Ovac) is spoken in the northernmost regions of New Caledonia in the areas around Poum in the west and Pouébo and Balade in the east.

Île Art – Waala Airport

Île Art – Waala Airport (also known as Belep Islands Airport)(IATA: BMY, ICAO: NWWC) is an airport on the Art Island (Île d'Art)/Waala (on the Belep) in New Caledonia.


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