New Caledonia is an archipelago in the southwest Pacific, 20,000 km from Europe. Its nearest neighbours are Vanuatu (500 km), Australia (1,500 km), and New Zealand (2,000 km). This Overseas Country and Territory (OCT) of the European Union (EU) is a special case within the French Republic, being neither a Département (overseas region) nor a Territoire: it is a sui generis entity, a collectivité known simply as ‘New Caledonia’. In the past generation, it has experienced serious social unrest, tantamount to ‘civil war’, followed by a process of ‘reconciliation’ leading to a highly innovative plan for constitutional change. From being relatively isolated in its Pacific context, indeed the subject of concern to a number of its neighbours 30 years ago, it is now actively engaged in efforts at regional ‘integration’ and sometimes seen as a force of stability in the so-called ‘Melanesian arc of instability’.