The columnar pine is an archaic survivor of the Triassic vegetation, spread in this area about 230 million years ago. In ancient times, the Araucaria species was composed of a large variety of plants, most of which have disappeared, along with the dinosaurs. Now, only 19 species survived worldwide, of which 13 are endemic to New Caledonia. The others 6 are in South America, Australia, New Guinea and in Norfolk Island (dislocated segments of the ancient Gondwana).
To me, they looked similar to a Norfolk Pine, (which are fairly common as an exotic tree in New Zealand) but are much narrower and skinnier, instead of the classic Christmas Tree shape of the Norfolk Pine.