15 Jun 2015

Swiss auction of Kanak artefacts abandoned

1:41 pm on 15 June 2015

A planned auction of Kanak artefacts in Switzerland has been cancelled after questions were raised about their origin.

The auctioneers, Aguttes, pulled the items once it had been contacted by the New Caledonian government.

According to the Noumea newspaper, Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes, it had come to its attention that the items were identified as the same ones mentioned in press reports in 1974 when they were said to have been taken out of the territory illegally.

The artefacts were suspected of being stolen and shipped out in a container by a collector at the time.

The newspaper says the government is poised to lodge a complaint for theft with French prosecutors.

Carvings in Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

Carvings in Isle of Pines, New Caledonia Photo: AFP