Thirty years ago to the week, New Caledonia was torn apart by violent protests. The pro-independence FLNKS boycotted an election and town halls were burned throughout the country. It provoked a four-year long civil war euphemistically known as 'the events'. At first, Australia supported the Kanak independence movement diplomatically. But Foreign Minister Hayden warned on 19 November 1984 that violent tactics would cost the Kanaks Australia's 'immense sympathy'.