The community of Bunaca on Ouvea put on the first annual Yam Festival in July 2009. Bunaca and St. Joseph are on the northernmost part of the Ouvea Atoll. It is mostly a Polynesian community that settled there after arriving by canoe from what is now called Wallis Island in the central Pacific. The three day festival attracted visitors from all over New Caledonia and some visitors from France and other nations as well. The local villagers all turned out and everyone had a great time.
A large dance group from the island of Mouly - on the south end of Ouvea - came to the festival to perform traditional Melanesian dances and the people of Bunaca danced around them with long bolts of cloth.
Visit the official Destination Iles Loyalte website on Ouvea, Loyalty Islands
Ouvea Atoll is the northernmost of the four Loyalty Islands. The eastern side of the atoll was uplifted millions of years ago so the whole eastern side forms one long narrow coral island with one of the world's most spectacular white sand beaches along the proctected lagoon. Ouvea is a 40 minute flight from Noumea, New Caledonia aboard Air Caledonie's new ATR turboprop planes. There is one 4 star Ouvea hotel - the Paradis d'Ouvea - two "Gites" and 6 "tribal stay" accommodation. There are also two managed campsites. Ouvea is popular with visitors - especially Japanese visitors - primarily because of the breathtaking beauty of the beach, but also because of the clear protected waters and coral reefs that offer great diving, interesting walks and annual festivals to attend. Two distinct cultural groups live on Ouvea, the Polynesian speaking people of the northern villages and the Melanesian speaking people of the southern villages. All of them also speak French and are French citizens because New Caledonia is part of France.