The Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre (French: Centre culturel Tjibaou), on the narrow Tinu Peninsula, approximately 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) northeast of the historic centre of Nouméa, the capital of New Caledonia, celebrates the vernacular Kanak culture, the indigenous culture of New Caledonia, amidst much political controversy over the independent status sought by the Kanaks from French colonial rule. It opened in June 1998 and was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and named after Jean-Marie Tjibaou, the leader of the independence movement who was assassinated in 1989 and who had a vision of establishing a cultural centre which blended the linguistic and artistic heritage of the Kanak people.
Jean-Marie Tjibaou (January 30, 1936 – May 4, 1989) was a leader of the Kanak independence movement and a politician in New Caledonia. The son of a tribal chief, Tjibaou was ordained a priest but abandoned his religious vocation for a life in political activism. He was appointed mayor of Hienghène in 1977 and the head of the pro-independence FLNKS in 1984.