New Zealand has a lot of trees, especially pine forests. All over the country the European settlers cut down native forest, either clearing the land and using the timber for building and so on, or replanting with forests of exotics.
I was living in Canterbury in August 1975 when the great storm came through. I remember driving to Christchurch seeing mile after mile of flattened pine forest beside the road.
Being highly allergic to pine pollen — it gives me terrible hayfever — I’m not so fond of pine trees. Driving through pine forest for an hour or two at a stretch near Tokeroa, for example, is exceptionally boring. [Sidenote: in 1990 I was lucky enough to visit Canada for a conference. We drove from Edmonton to Vancouver on that trip and spent two days driving through pine forest.]
In Northland the earliest settlers felled the huge kauri trees that had taken hundreds, even thousands of years to grow. On the West Coast, until recently companies were felling native beech trees and the mighty rimu.
One of the joys of the West Coast is that it’s not full of pine trees. You can look around and see rata, rimu, and a whole variety of greenery. The West Coast has a texture and dimension lacking in some other other places.