On 12 December 2021, the people of New Caledonia will go to the polls. It is the date that has been set by the government of France for the third and possibly final referendum on Independence.

The previous two votes were in 2018 and 2020. On each occasion, the result was “NON” to becoming independent and “OUI” to remaining a territory of France. Crucially, the margin between the two sides narrowed over the two-year intervening period. In 2020, 47 per cent of the voters were in favour of independence, up from 43 per cent two years previously.

December 12 is a huge milestone on what has been a long, complex, and often fraught political journey. There have been demographic shifts, geopolitical developments, a global pandemic and more.

What are the influences and issues that will inform what happens on 12 December, and subsequently? How have the perspectives of key players shifted over time as the people of New Caledonia seek to craft a future for themselves? What would independence mean for France as a Pacific power? How is the future of New Caledonia seen by other countries in the region, including Australia?

To help our audiences understand these issues and appreciate the context in which the 12 December vote will take place, the Pacific Hub has brought together our “Focus on New Caledonia” resources section. Here you will find reportage, commentary, and analysis from a wide range of scholars, activists, and journalists. It is a multi-media collection, and we are pleased to be able to share it widely to promote a greater understanding of the upcoming referendum and why it is so important.


Tess Newton Cain is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Griffith Asia Institute and project lead of the Pacific Hub.