Seminar: Adrian Muckle, ‘Becoming Kanak: the life of Louis (“Loulou”) Henriot / Napoarea’

The Stage 2 Report on the National Freshwater and Geothermal Resources Claims – Pre-publication Version

This seminar introduces a part of a collaborative project with Benoît Trépied (CNRS, IRIS, Paris), examining the history of a “mixed-race” family in New Caledonia over three generations from the 1890s to the 1970s. My focus is a member of the middle generation, Louis (“Loulou”) Henriot/Napoarea (1902-1976). Loulou was the son of Auguste Henriot (1874-1958), a long-serving settler mayor of the locality of Koné in the interwar period during which Kanak were denied suffrage, and the father of Paul Napoarea (1938-1994), the first Kanak mayor of the same locality in the post-war era of Kanak suffrage. The history of this “family”, and the life of Loulou in particular, straddles key social and political divisions of the colonial era, notably those between Melanesians and Europeans and between citizens and non-citizens.This paper examines some of the ways these divisions may have shaped Loulou’s life and how in the course of his lifetime he ceased to be “métis” named Henriot and became a Kanak named Napoarea.

Adrian Muckle is a Senior Lecturer in the History Programme, Victoria University of Wellington. His most recent publication is (with Isabelle Merle) L’indigénat. Genèses dans l’Empire français. Pratiques en Nouvelle-Calédonie, Paris, CNRS Éditions, 2019.

Venue:            Old Kirk 406 (F L W Wood Seminar Room)

Date:               Friday, 6 September 2019

Time:              12:10pm

For more information: Contact Dr Cybele Locke (; 04 463 6774).