The island that speaks to your heart
With a total area of 650m², Maré (Nengone in the local language) is half the size of Lifou. The island shelters wild and breathtaking landscapes that will undoubtedly leave their imprint on you. Lifou is made up of 5 layers of coral strata that stack up 130 meters high on the south coast. Rugged cliffs, intricate basaltic rock formations, deep forests, charming creeks, powdery sand and rocky promontories that run along immaculate beaches: Lifou has it all. The central plain, carved out by the lagoon, counts numerous caves and natural pools of freshwater and seawater. These exceptional habitats attract fish and turtles alike. In Maré you will contemplate hues of blue and green that you won’t encounter anywhere else.
Maré is divided into 8 districts that regroup 29 tribal villages: Guahma, Tadine, Wabao, Eni, Médu, La Roche, Tawaïnedr and Pénélo. The island counts 6,900 inhabitants whose main activity is market gardening. The tasty fruits and vegetables they produce are sent all over New Caledonia. Maré’s delicious avocadoes have become so famous and sought after that a yearly festival celebrates them!
Captain Raven, a British explorer, came to Maré in 1803. At first, the island was named after his sailboat, the Britannia. For years Maré was influenced by British merchants, missionaries and sailors. Even the local language, Nengone, has been permeated by English words and pronunciation. In1800, Captain Butler was actually the first European explorer to reach Maré aboard his ship, the Walpole. But it is only about forty years later that true contact was established between locals and white settlers. In 1841, Reverend Murray began spreading the Protestant faith. His Catholic counterpart, Reverend Beaulieu, started preaching and converting too. Incidents and unrest ensued until 1883. The people of Maré have always gladly integrated foreigners to their community, thereby fostering ethnic diversity. You will love meeting these friendly locals: open-minded but strong-willed!