Nouméa (French pronunciation: ​[numea]) is the capital and largest city of the French special collectivity of New Caledonia. It is situated on a peninsula in the south of New Caledonia's main island, Grande Terre, and is home to the majority of the island's European, Polynesian (Wallisians, Futunians, Tahitians), Indonesian, and Vietnamese populations, as well as many Melanesians, Ni-Vanuatu and Kanaks who work in one of the South Pacific's most industrialised cities. The city lies on a protected deepwater harbour that serves as the chief port for New Caledonia.

At the August 2014 census, there were 179,509 inhabitants in the metropolitan area of Greater Nouméa (French: agglomération du Grand Nouméa), 99,926 of whom lived in the city (commune) of Nouméa proper.[2] 66.8% of the population of New Caledonia live in Greater Nouméa, which covers the communes of Nouméa, Le Mont-Dore, Dumbéa and Païta.

City centre and Nouméa Cathedral
City centre and Nouméa Cathedral
Coat of arms of Nouméa

Coat of arms
Location of the commune (in red) within New Caledonia
Location of the commune (in red)
within New Caledonia
Location of Nouméa
Coordinates: 22°16′33″S 166°27′29″E / 22.2758°S 166.4580°ECoordinates: 22°16′33″S 166°27′29″E / 22.2758°S 166.4580°E
Sui generis collectivityNew Caledonia
ProvinceSouth Province
(provincial seat)
 • Mayor (2014–present) Sonia Lagarde
Area45.7 km2 (17.6 sq mi)
 • Urban
1,643 km2 (634 sq mi)
 (Aug 2014 census[2])
 • Density2,200/km2 (5,700/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Urban density110/km2 (280/sq mi)
Ethnic distribution
 • 1996 censusWhites 50.9%
Kanaks 22.9%
Polynesians 12.3%
Other 13.9%
Time zoneUTC+11:00
INSEE/Postal code
98818 /98800
Elevation0–167 m (0–548 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.
Flag of the city of Nouméa, New Caledonia
Nouméa city flag


The first European to establish a settlement in the vicinity was British trader James Paddon in 1851. Anxious to assert control of the island, the French established a settlement nearby three years later in 1854, moving from Balade in the north of the island. This settlement was initially called Port-de-France and was renamed Nouméa in 1866. The area served first as a penal colony, later as a centre for the exportation of the nickel and gold that was mined nearby.

From 1904 to 1940 Nouméa was linked to Dumbéa and Païta by the Nouméa-Païta railway, the only railway line that ever existed in New Caledonia.

During World War II, Nouméa served as the headquarters of the United States military in the South Pacific. The five-sided U.S. military headquarters complex was adopted after the war as the base for a new regional intergovernmental development organisation: the South Pacific Commission, later known as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, and later still as the Pacific Community

The city maintains much of New Caledonia's unique mix of French and old Melanesian culture. Even today the US wartime military influence lingers, both with the warmth that many New Caledonian people feel towards the United States after experiencing the relative friendliness of American soldiers and also with the names of several of the quarters in Nouméa. Districts such as "Receiving" and "Robinson", or even "Motor Pool", strike the anglophone ear strangely, until the historical context becomes clear.


The city is situated on an irregular, hilly peninsula near the southeast end of New Caledonia, which is in the south-west Pacific Ocean.

Neighbourhoods of Nouméa include:[3]

  • Rivière-Salée
  • 6e km, 7e km, Normandie, and Tina
  • Ducos peninsula:
    • Ducos, Ducos industriel, Kaméré, Koumourou, Logicoop, Numbo, Tindu
  • 4e Km, Aérodrome, Haut Magenta, Magenta, Ouémo, and Portes de fer
  • Faubourg Blanchot and Vallée des Colons
  • Doniambo, Montagne coupée, Montravel, and Vallée du tir
  • Artillerie Nord, Centre Ville, Nouville, Quartier Latin, Vallée du Génie
  • Anse Vata, Artillerie Sud, Baie des Citrons, Motor Pool, N'géa, Orphelinat, Receiving, Trianon, and Val Plaisance


Noumea Market
A woman at a market in Nouméa

The Greater Nouméa urban area (French: agglomération du Grand Nouméa) had a total population of 179,509 inhabitants at the August 2014 census, 99,926 of whom lived in the commune of Nouméa proper.[2]

The Greater Nouméa urban area is made up of four communes:

Historical population

1956 1963 1969 1976 1983 1989 1996 2009 2014
Nouméa (commune) 22,235 34,990 41,853 56,078 60,112 65,110 76,293 97,579 99,926
Greater Nouméa 25,204 39,996 50,488 74,335 85,098 97,581 118,823 163,723 179,509
Official figures from population censuses.[2][4]

Average population growth of the Greater Nouméa urban area:

  • 1956-1963: +2,310 people per year (+7.5% per year)
  • 1963-1969: +1,791 people per year (+4.1% per year)
  • 1969-1976: +3,349 people per year (+5.6% per year)
  • 1976-1983: +1,543 people per year (+2.0% per year)
  • 1983-1989: +2,091 people per year (+2.3% per year)
  • 1989-1996: +3,020 people per year (+2.8% per year)
  • 1996-2009: +3,382 people per year (+2.4% per year)
  • 2009-2014: +3,106 people per year (+1.8% per year)


The places of birth of the 179,509 residents in the Greater Nouméa urban area at the 2014 census were the following:[5]

Ethnic communities

The self-reported ethnic communities of the 179,509 residents in the Greater Nouméa urban area at the 2014 census were as follows:[5]


At the 2009 census, 98.7% of the population in the Greater Nouméa urban area whose age was 15 years old and older reported that they could speak French. 97.1% reported that they could also read and write it. Only 1.3% of the population whose age was 15 years old and older had no knowledge of French.[6]

At the same census, 20.8% of the population in the Greater Nouméa urban area whose age was 15 years old and older reported that they could speak at least one of the Kanak languages. 4.3% reported that they could understand a Kanak language but not speak it. 74.9% of the population whose age was 15 years old and older had no knowledge of any Kanak language.[7]


Nouméa features a tropical wet and dry climate with hot summers and warm winters. Temperatures are warmer in the months of January, February and March with average highs hovering around 30 degrees Celsius and cooler during the months of July and August where average high temperatures are around 23 degrees Celsius. The capital’s dry season months are September and October. The rest of the year is noticeably wetter. Nouméa on average receives roughly 1,100 mm (43 in) of precipitation annually.


Although Nouméa has more sunshine days than any other Pacific Island capital and beaches not far from the city centre, it is not currently a major tourist destination. The cost of living is high and air travel is not discounted to the same extent as to other destinations on the Pacific Rim.

Nouméa is, as of 2007, one of the most rapidly growing cities in the Pacific and has experienced a major housing construction boom in the preceding decade. The installation of amenities has kept pace and the municipality boasts a public works programme. Much of this construction is fuelled by investment from France and it is hoped that over the lifetime of this multi-decade track towards increased autonomy planned under the Matignon Agreements and now the Nouméa Accord, the local economy will become independently sustainable.


Aircalin, the international airline of New Caledonia,[9] and Air Calédonie (Aircal), the domestic airline, have their headquarters in the city.[10] Aircal's headquarters are on the grounds of Nouméa Magenta Airport,[11] which serves local routes. Nouméa's international airport is La Tontouta International Airport, 50 kilometres (31 mi) from the city.

The Nouméa-Païta railway, which was the only railway line that ever existed in New Caledonia, was closed in 1940.


Exterior view of Bernheim Library, Nouméa
Bernheim Library exterior
Interior View 2 of Bernheim Library, Noumea
Bernheim Library interior

The University of New Caledonia (UNC) goes back to 1987 when the Université Française du Pacifique (French University of the Pacific) was created, with two centres, one in French Polynesia and the other in New Caledonia. In 1997 the decision was made to split the two parts into separate universities and so in 1999 the Université de la Nouvelle Calédonie and the Université de la Polynésie Française were formed.

UNC welcomes around 3,000 local and international students and 100 professors and researchers each year.[12]

The Bibliothèque Bernheim (Bernheim Library) is located in Nouméa.[13]

Twin towns – sister cities

Popular culture

  • New Caledonia was the favorite liberty port in the Pacific of the crew of the PT-73 in the American television series McHale's Navy.[15]
  • Sydney-based author Nathan J. Roche set his 2014 novel The Nouméa Neurosis, a satirical prose account of cycling, in and around Nouméa.[16]


  1. ^ "Tableaux de l'économie calédonienne, Chapitre 1 : TERRITOIRE-ENVIRONNEMENT" (PDF). ISEE. 2012. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Recensement de la population 2014 - Populations légales 2014". ISEE. Archived from the original on 19 April 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Les quartiers Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine." Nouméa. Retrieved on 12 February 2011.
  4. ^ "Population des communes de la Nouvelle-Calédonie de 1956 à 2009". ISEE. Archived from the original on 30 October 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Recensement de la population de 2014 - Population, ménages et logements par communes de Nouvelle Calédonie". ISEE. Archived from the original on 25 October 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  6. ^ "P19 Population de 15 ans et plus, selon le sexe et la connaissance du français, par commune et province de résidence". ISEE. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  7. ^ "P21 Population de 15 ans et plus, selon le sexe et la connaissance d'une langue kanak, par commune et province de résidence". ISEE. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  8. ^ "Climatological Information for Noumea, New Caledonia". Hong Kong Observatory. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012.
  9. ^ "Contact Us Archived 1 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine." Aircalin. Retrieved on 2 October 2009.
  10. ^ "AIR CALÉDONIE CONTACTS." Air Calédonie. Retrieved on 2 October 2009.
  11. ^ "Renouvellement de Carte Résident Archived 30 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine." Air Calédonie. Retrieved on 8 October 2009.
  12. ^ ""Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) Université de la Nouvelle-Calédonie. Retrieved on 5 January 2012.
  13. ^ "coordonnées & horaires Archived 16 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine." Bibliothèque Bernheim. Retrieved on 12 February 2011.
  14. ^ "Villes jumelées avec la Ville de Nice" (in French). Ville de Nice. Archived from the original on 29 October 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  15. ^ "IMDbPro". Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 January 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links

2011 Pacific Games

The 2011 Pacific Games (officially known as NC 2011) took place in Nouméa, New Caledonia, from August 27 to September 10, 2011. Nouméa was the 14th host of the Pacific Games. Upon closure of the registration for entries, "some 4,300 athletes" had registered from the twenty-two competing nations, although it was expected that not all would attend.

2017 BNP Paribas de Nouvelle-Calédonie

The 2017 BNP Paribas de Nouvelle-Calédonie was a professional tennis tournament played on hard courts. It was the fourteenth edition of the tournament which is part of the 2017 ATP Challenger Tour. It took place in Nouméa, New Caledonia on 2–7 January 2017.

AS Magenta

AS Magenta is a New Caledonian football team playing at the top level. It is based in Nouméa. Their home stadium is Stade Numa-Daly Magenta.

Air Austral

Air Austral is an airline based at the Roland Garros Airport in the French overseas department of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. It operates scheduled services from Réunion to metropolitan France, South Africa, Thailand, India and a number of destinations in the Indian Ocean. The company has eight airplanes in the fleet and employs around 900 people.

Air Calédonie

Société Calédonienne de Transports Aériens, operating as Air Calédonie, is a French airline and is the domestic airline for New Caledonia (France), headquartered on the grounds of Magenta Airport in Nouméa. It operates scheduled passenger and cargo flights from Nouméa to 5 destinations in New Caledonia. Its main base is Magenta Airport (GEA).

Football at the 2011 Pacific Games – Men's tournament

The 2011 Pacific Games men's football tournament was the 13th edition of Pacific Games men's football tournament. The competition was held in New Caledonia from 27 August to 9 September 2011 with the final played at the Stade Numa-Daly in Nouméa.Twelve men's teams competed at the Games, with the top five teams advancing to the 2012 Pacific Cup with New Zealand national under-23 football team in February 2012.The tournament had initially been planned as part of the qualification tournament for the 2012 OFC Nations Cup, and Oceania Football Confederation's (OFC) qualification tournament for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. However, FIFA announced a revised format for both tournaments in June 2011, meaning that the Pacific Games were no longer part of qualification, and therefore were not FIFA authorised games.

La Tontouta International Airport

La Tontouta International Airport, also known as Nouméa – La Tontouta International Airport (French: Aéroport de Nouméa - La Tontouta; IATA: NOU, ICAO: NWWW) is the main international airport in New Caledonia. The airport is in the municipality of Païta, approximately 52 km (32 mi) northwest of Nouméa. La Tontouta International Airport serves international flights, while Noumea Magenta Airport, located 38 km south-east within the city of Noumea, serves domestic flights. The airport is regularly served by four airlines, including Aircalin which is based at the airport. In 2017, 529,349 passengers used the airport.

Laurent Gané

Laurent Gané (born 7 March 1973 in Nouméa, New Caledonia) is a former French professional track cyclist.

He was awarded the Vélo d'Or français, which is awarded by a panel of French journalists, in 1999 and 2003.

Gané is also the cousin of cyclist Hervé Gané.

List of New Caledonian records in athletics

The following are the records in athletics in New Caledonia maintained by New Caledonia's national athletics association: Ligue de la Nouvelle Calédonie d'Athlétisme (LNCA).

List of Wallis and Futunan records in athletics

The following are the national records in athletics in Wallis and Futuna maintained by its local athletics federation: Wallis & Futuna Athletics Association (Ligue d'athlétisme de Wallis et Futuna).

New Caledonia

New Caledonia (; French: Nouvelle-Calédonie) is a special collectivity of France, currently governed under the Nouméa Accord, located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, 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. French people, and especially locals, refer to Grande Terre as Le Caillou ("the pebble").New Caledonia has a land area of 18,576 km2 (7,172 sq mi) divided into three provinces. The North and South Provinces are located on the New Caledonian mainland, while the Loyalty Islands Province is a series of islands off the mainland. Its population of 268,767 (August 2014 census) consists of a mix of the original inhabitants, Kanak people, who are the majority in the North Province and the Loyalty Islands Province and 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 who are the majority in the South Province. The capital of the territory is Nouméa.

New Caledonia's 1st constituency

The 1st constituency of New Caledonia is a French legislative constituency in New Caledonia.

Between 1958 and 1962, the constituency represented the entirety of the New Hebrides condominium and the constituency represented the entirety of New Caledonia until a redistricting in 1978 created the 2nd constituency. Between 1978 and a new redistricting in 1986, the first constituency represented the Kanak-populated eastern shore of the main island in addition to the Loyalty Islands. Since 1986, the constituency is composed of the Caldoche-populated loyalist stronghold of Nouméa and the strongly nationalist Kanak-populated Loyalty Islands. Due to this makeup in which loyalist-voting Nouméa far outnumbers the sparsely populated islands, the constituency is strongly loyalist.

New Caledonia's 2nd constituency

The 2nd constituency of New Caledonia is a French legislative constituency in New Caledonia.

The second constituency was created in a redistricting in 1978. Between 1978 and a new redistricting in 1986, the second constituency represented the ethnically diverse western shore of the main island, but its main population centre was Nouméa, a largely French-populated loyalist stronghold. Since 1986, the constituency is composed of the so-called brousse - that is, the rural parts of the main island which are mostly Kanak but also the more populous French-populated suburbs of Nouméa.

New Caledonia Cup

The New Caledonia Cup is New Caledonia's premier knockout tournament in men's football (soccer). It was created in 1954, and gives the winner of the tournament a berth in the Coupe de France.

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 national rugby union team

The New Caledonia national rugby union team represents New Caledonia in rugby union. The team has been playing international rugby since the 1960s. All their matches have been against other teams from Oceania.New Caledonia has competed at the South Pacific Games, winning a silver medal in 1966. The team won the gold medal in 1987, defeating Cook Islands in the final in Nouméa, and won gold again at the boycott-affected games in Papeete in 1995 where Tahiti was the only other competing team.More recently, the team has played for the FORU Oceania Cup. In 2008, their win over fellow Pacific rivals Vanuatu in Nouméa, 32–20, paved their way to the final of the competition, but New Caledonia lost the match to Niue, 5–27.

Nouméa Magenta Airport

Nouméa Magenta Airport (French: l'Aéroport de Nouméa Magenta) (IATA: GEA, ICAO: NWWM) is a domestic airport on the main island of New Caledonia. The airport is 3 km (2 mi) east northeast of the centre of Nouméa, the capital, and approximately 50 km (31 mi) from La Tontouta International Airport. In 2017, 428,679 passengers used the airport.

Air Calédonie has its head office on the airport property.

Pierre Frogier

Pierre Frogier (born 16 November 1950, Nouméa, New Caledonia) is a French politician, who was President of the Government of New Caledonia from 2001 to 2004. He is French senator for New Caledonia since 2011, and was member of the National Assembly of France from 1996 to 2011. He served as President of the Congress of New Caledonia from 1995 to 1997.He was born in Nouméa.

He was elected President of that collectivity by the territorial Congress (Congrès du territoire) on 5 April 2001, reelected in November 2002 when the government collapsed following the resignation of a minister, and left office on 10 June 2004, when a new government was elected after his party, the anti-independence The Rally–UMP, lost parliamentary elections.

When the new government collapsed, Frogier ran for president in elections two weeks later, on 24 June 2004, in which he was defeated, received 4 of the 11 votes in Congress.

He was elected second time as President of the Congress of New Caledonia from 2007 to 2009.

Stade Numa-Daly Magenta

Stade Numa-Daly Magenta is a multi-use stadium in Nouméa, New Caledonia. It is currently used mostly for football matches. The stadium holds 16,000. It is currently the home ground of the New Caledonia national football team and was one of the host venues at the 2011 Pacific Games for the men's football tournament.

Climate data for Noumea, New Caledonia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 28.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.0
Average low °C (°F) 23.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 112.9
Average precipitation days 14.2 14.2 17.1 15.0 16.8 17.3 15.9 13.1 9.6 9.3 10.3 11.3 164.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 232.5 209.0 201.5 198.0 176.7 156.0 182.9 201.5 222.0 251.1 249.0 260.4 2,540.6
Source: Hong Kong Observatory,[8]
Capitals of Oceania


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