Last modified: 2012-05-17 by ivan sache
Keywords: new caledonia | caldoche | sun (red) | bird (yellow) | kagu |
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Caldoches' flag - Image by Pascal Vagnat, 8 May 2003
The Caldoches are the descendants of the European colonists. However, not
all the Caledonians of European origin accept the word "Caldoche". They
consider it as pejorative and prefer to be called "Calédoniens".
The word "Caldoche" seems to have been created by Kanak children from
the Lifou island. The word was based on "Calédonie" and the pejorative
suffix oche. Another origin is given in Mille et
un mots Calédoniens: in 1968, Ms. J. Schmidt published articles in the
local newspapers signed "Caldoche", Cald refering to "Caledonia" and
"oche" refering to "boche", the derogative term used (mostly in the
past) in France to designate the Germans. Schmidt remembered having been
called sale boche in her youth because of her family origins.
The French living in New Caledonia but not born on the island are not called "Caldoches" but "Zoreilles" (literally, "Z-ears").
Source: University of Laval
Ivan Sache, 8 May 2003
The "Caldoches' flag" is white with a white shield outlined in black. The shield shows a yellow kagu spreading its wings over a green hill and a blue wave. A red sun with twelve rays is placed in the shield canton. It seems that this flag, whose precise status and meaning is unknown, was seen in Caldoche demonstrations during the unrest of the 1990s.
Pascal Vagnat, 8 May 2003
There are 197 species of birds recorded in New Caledonia, among which
23 are endemic, that is not found anywhere else in the wild. The
International Union for Nature Conservation (UICN) has listed 17
endemic forest birds of New Caledonia on the Red List of endangered
species, which includes 1,211 bird species worldwide. The most famous
of them and the emblematic bird of New Caledonia is the kagu.
The kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus) is the only member of the genus Rhynochetos, which is the only member of the family Rhynochetidae. It was trapped by the Melanesians, and later by the Europeans, for pet and plume trade. The bird retreated to the interior of the island, where its habitat was destroyed by nickel mining. The species is now threatened by feral dogs and pigs; predation by cats and rats is not documented. The kagu has full legal protection since 1977. It is believed than less than 1,000 kagus still live in New Caledonia, mostly in the South Province.
Most scientific publications on kagu were made by Dr. Gavin Hunt, now with the Department of Psychology of the University of Auckland, New Zeland and working on tool-making ability in New Caledonian crows. Dr. Hunt worked on bird conservation in New Caledonia from 1991 to 1995 and defended in 1997 in Massey University his Ph.D. Thesis entitled: Ecology and conservation of the Kagu Rhynochetos jubatus of New Caledonia.
He wrote the chapter on kagu in two references books:
Hunt, G.R. (2002). Kagu. In Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, Vol. 10: Birds. Gale Publishing Group, Farmington Hills, MI.
Hunt, G.R. (1996). Rhynochetidae (Kagu). Pp. 218-225 In (Eds. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J.) Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol. 3. Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
Ivan Sache, 13 May 2006