25 May 2024

Fourth repatriation flight bringing New Zealanders home from New Caledonia

2:45 pm on 25 May 2024
A third Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) flight brings approximately 50 passengers from New Caledonia to Auckland on 24 May 2024.

New Zealanders leave Noumea in the third repatriation flight from New Caledonia. Photo: NZDF

A fourth flight taking New Zealanders out of riot-torn New Caledonia has departed from Nouméa and is on its way back to Auckland.

The Defence Force Hercules has about 57 people on board with another 110 New Zealanders still in New Caledonia waiting to go home.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters confirmed the flight on X (formerly Twitter), saying the plane was scheduled to land in Auckland later on Saturday.

It will be the fourth repatriation flight since fatal clashes broke out between pro-independence protesters and security forces.

In the latest developments, a police officer reportedly shot and killed a man after he and a colleague were attacked by a group of about 15 people.

It comes just a day after French President Emmanuel Macron visited the territory in a bid to calm tensions.

Meanwhile, a New Zealander evacuated from New Caledonia said parts of the capital were like a bomb site.

Andre Capiez was one of about 50 people who were on the third evacuation flight from Nouméa, amid riots in the country.

Capiez, born in New Caledonia, said most of the damage in Nouméa could not be seen from tourist areas.

"In parts of the city it's like, amazing. I mean, you know [if you've seen] pictures of bombed areas, that's what it looks like. Everything's been burned down and looted..."

People on both sides of the civil unrest did not condone the violence, Capiez said.

The death toll from the civil unrest had risen to seven overnight.

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