The neo-colonial Japanese Co-Prosperity Sphere didn't quite spread this far. On the other hand, we were told they had to bring Charles de Gaulle out to get the local French on-board with the Free French and the Allies; apparently some Vichy elements were active here.
A French colony, New Caledonia was a major U.S. military base in World War II and many Anzac (Australian and New Zealand) troops passed through as well.
A thing that really puzzled me before I went ashore was the dry barren-looking hills surrounding Noumea. Yesterday's New Caledonia island - Mare - was total green jungle anywhere people hadln't bulldozed it.
The hills hereabouts look like those in Southern California - dry brush and grass. I asked how this was possible in the tropics and was told New Caledonia has many microclimates.
Likely it's no accident the capital is in a dry zone. In days when Europeans sickened and died in the tropics from malaria, dengue, and yellow fever - a dry region would be healthier, having fewer mosquitoes.
We had a weird experience here, we took a ship excursion to see a WW II museum and the tour group went back to the ship leaving the two of us at the museum. This was a major tour guide screw-up, they normally count people every time they load a bus to be sure they have all their customers aboard.
It could have been a terrible experience but the museum docents called the tour operator who sent a big bus back just to bring the two of us to the ship. To keep us from complaining they said we would get our tour fee refunded and the ship confirms it.