A former senior official in the French president's cabinet, Thierry Lataste, has been appointed as the state's representative in New Caledonia.
Mr Lataste held the High Commissioner role once before from 1999 to 2002.
That was after the signing of the 1998 Nouméa Accord, which sets the path for a vote on independence from France, due by the end of 2018.
The appointment comes as New Caledonia continues to grapple with political divisions in the run up to the referendum.
Politicians from all sides have welcomed Mr Lataste's arrival pointing out his great understanding of New Caledonian issues and negotiating skills.
Mr Lataste had been the director of Francois Hollande's cabinet since January last year.