Gore is one of the more progressive towns in New Zealand. Not unlike many small towns in New Zealand, Gore also was suffering at the hands of economic fluctuations, but like Taupo in the north the town decided to stand for something, and in fact Gore went one better and now stands for two key tourist drivers. Firstly ‘the brown trout capital of New Zealand’ and then the ‘Country and Western Music Capital of New Zealand.’
The town of Gore is 64 km northeast of Invercargill and 70 km west of Balclutha, The urban area estimated resident population at the June 2009 estimate was circa 10,000 and is the second largest in Southland. Gore is a service town for the surrounding wealthy farm communities.
Some decades earlier, coinciding with European Common Market initiatives the farm sector went into decline which led to a corresponding decline in the population. Related businesses also closed, including the town’s iconic cereal mill, which had processed oats and other grains since 1877. Since 2000 prosperity has returned as large numbers of farms in the surrounding area were converted to dairy farms to take advantage of high prices for dairy produce.
Gore is known in New Zealand folklore as the home of Hokonui moonshine. During the days of prohibition, the Hokonui Hills to the west of the town gained a reputation for the production of illicit alcohol. The Gore Museum has a brilliant exhibition that covers this era.
A great place to visit and allow a minimum of two days to take in what is on offer.