Hienghène's brooding hen (La Poule) is one of New Caledonia's most emblematic tourist attractions. This limestone rock formation, known as ‘Puxa’ in Fwai (one of the languages spoken in Hienghène), is also a powerful religious symbol for the region’s inhabitants, who have immense respect for this rock based on the legend of its appearance.
A strange appearance
In contrast to what logically-minded geologists might imagine, Hienghène’s La Poule is clearly not the result of happenstance. La Poule literally sprung out of the water while children were playing nearby. Dumbfounded, they went immediately to the village chief. He then gathered together the chiefs of the Tiendanite, Werap and Tendo clans, and they all went down to the sea. Astonished, the chiefs asked La Poule where she had come from, to which she responded that she had come to help them live in this far-flung place. Then gifts were offered to La Poule and a night-time ceremony paid homage to her strange appearance.
A remarkable siteVoir plus
Discover the site
The Hienghène lagoon is crisscrossed by huge black-stone cliffs that emerge from the water. The jewel of the East Coast is the famous stone, the Brooding Hen, which you can admire from a comfortable point of view, or choose to explore by kayak with Nord Adventure. In a two-people or single kayak, you can get as close as possible to these marvels of nature. Some of these black rocks reach a height of sixty meters.
La Poule generously lays eggs of happiness for the clans...
La Poule kept her word and laid gigantic eggs, out of which came many benefits for the surrounding tribes. La Poule also told the tribes of the land that the surrounding waters were full of fish, and invited them to fish, while retaining respect for the place. Ever since then, the rite honouring Hienghène's La Poule has continued, as real ancestral incarnation living in the water rose up to help its people; an ancestor everyone must respect and be mindful of. A symbol of generosity, Hienghène's La Poule has now become a symbol of New Caledonia as a whole.
The guardian of the place
And, not far away, another rocky formation depicting the Egyptian Sphinx seems to be an eternal guardian watching over La Poule.