The handshake between the anti-independence Jacques Lafleur and the independence Jean-Marie Tjibaou
A statue representing the famous handshake between the anti-independence Jacques Lafleur and the independence Jean-Marie Tjibaou has been inaugurated in downtown Noumea. It symbolises the signing of the Matignon Accords on 26 June 1988, which brought peace to New Caledonia after several years of civil war in the 1980s. The 2.5-metre bronze statue is located in a square called “Place of Peace” (Koo Wee Joka in the local Kanak language). The choice of this place is not a coincidence. For more than a century, the statue of a controversial figure in New Caledonian colonial history, Governor Jean-Baptise Olry, has stood on this spot. It was he who organised the bloody repression of the first Kanak revolt in 1878. Quite a symbol.