Kanak (formerly also Canaque) are the indigenous Melanesian inhabitants of New Caledonia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southwest Pacific. According to the 2009 census, they constitute 40.3% of the total population of New Caledonia.Though Melanesian settlement is recorded on Grande Terre's Presqu'île de Foué peninsula as far back as the Lapita culture, the origin of Kanak people is unclear. Ethnographic research has shown that Polynesian seafarers have intermarried with the Kanaks over the centuries. The Kanaks refer to the European inhabitants of New Caledonia as Caldoches.
New Caledonia was annexed to France in 1853, and became an overseas territory of France in 1956. A political movement, restarted by the Kanaks in 1984, after an initial failed revolt in 1967, has strongly pursued total independence status from the French rule. The movement is supported by the United Nations resolution of December 1986. A 2014 referendum will decide whether or not the territory will achieve sovereign status. When the 1988 Matignon agreements were signed between the representatives of France and New Caledonia to decide on holding the referendum for independence, Jean-Marie Tjibaou, the Kanak leader of the independence movement, had mooted a proposal to set up an Agency for the Development of Kanak Culture (ADCK). After Tjibaou's assassination in 1989, the French President François Mitterrand ordered that a cultural centre on the lines suggested by Tjibaou be set up in Nouméa, the capital of New Caledonia; it was to be the last of Mitterrand's Grands Projets. The Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre was formally established in May 1998.
Oceania is a region centered on the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean. Conceptions of what constitutes Oceania vary, with it being defined in various ways, often geopolitically or geographically. In the geopolitical conception used by the United Nations, International Olympic Committee, and many atlases, the Oceanic region includes Australia and the nations of the Pacific from Papua New Guinea east, but not the Malay Archipelago or Indonesian New Guinea. The term is sometimes used more specifically to denote Australasia as a geographic continent, or biogeographically as a synonym for either the Australasian ecozone (Wallacea and Australasia) or the Pacific ecozone (Melanesia, Polynesia, and Micronesia apart either from New Zealand or from mainland New Guinea).
Although Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands belong to the Commonwealth of Australia and are inhabited, they are nearer Indonesia than the Australian mainland, and are commonly associated with Asia instead of Oceania.