The landscape of parts of the
West Coast has been drastically altered, with whole forests
flattened, shelter belts collapsed and all the popular
tramping tracks rendered impassable by last week's massive
Whataroa people say the landscape will never be the same in
"A lot of it can just stay and rot or some of it can be
milled," Dan Dennehy told Radio NZ.
"Hopefully farmers will try and let it re-grow ... 10, 20, 30
years before there's any size to it," he said.
Malcolm MacRae is also adjusting to an altered landscape
"Until you see it, you wouldn't believe it," Mr MacRae said.
"Trees uprooted are probably a couple of hundred years old.
The roots are so large. I've been here 55 years and I've seen
nothing like it."
He said totara, which had been left standing during farm
clearance because of their aesthetic value, had tumbled and
the landscape on the flats now looked like a "bomb site".
At Hari Hari, Lindsay Molloy said pretty well anyone with
substantial trees on their property had lost some.
He still had some shelter belt left, but generally it was the
willows, not totara, that were still standing, he said.
The storm has also closed most popular walking tracks over a
400km length of the West Coast.
The Point Elizabeth Track near Greymouth, and Coal Creek at
Runanga, are both closed due to extensive damage. South of
Fox Glacier, the trans-alpine Copland Track is also closed.
In Buller, the Inland Pack Track from Fox River to Punakaiki
DOC is also advising people to keep off the Heaphy Track -
one of New Zealand's 'great walks' - as well as the Oparara
Basin tracks and the Wangapeka Track.
DOC partnerships ranger Trevor Johnston said Greymouth staff
were still checking other tracks.
The Carew Falls at Mitchells was closed, and the Croesus
Track was closed on the Barrytown side, but open on the
At Franz Josef, partnerships ranger Cornelia Vervoorn said
the access tracks to the glaciers were open, however the
Copland was closed due to excessive windfall damage along the
first few kilometres.
"The car park toilet was blown away."
Ex-forester Ian James, of Okarito, said the forests would
He said winds and strong earthquakes brought about a cycle of
"Trees can't keep growing - eventually they get big and
unstable (and blow over), or die."
DOC conservation services manager southern region Wayne
Costello, agreed: "It's a natural cycle. The forests will
- Laura Mills of the