The word Kanak is derived from a Marquesan term that means “man”, kanaka. Both the noun and the adjective are now written in French as “kanak” with two Ks, using the English form.
A real cradle of Kanak culture, the East Coast is a journey from smile to smile. Each tribal village, each clan lives at the pace of its own rites which make up a world which is always distinctive. With its specific traditions and myths, Kanak culture is still preserved and not well known to the general public. Its wealth has been protected and not reduced to folklore and it is now opening up to culturally sensitive discovery tourism. In the society of the Kanaks, the country’s original people, custom ceremonies mark out existence, from birth to death through maturity and marriage. All are indicated by unique symbolic acts.
Kanak country in New Caledonia is divided into eight custom areas, four of which are located in the North Province. The Kanaks still speak 28 vernacular languages.