The announcement today of a $3.7 million investment in the Gore District from the Provincial Growth Fund has been applauded by Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks.
“It’s the right investment, at the right time, in the right place.”
Mr Hicks’ comments follow the announcement by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones of funding for the Maruawai Project – a major upgrade of the Hokonui Moonshine Museum and Gore’s heritage precinct; and Hokonui Huanui – a project aimed at ensuring local young people have the skills to take up jobs created from Southland’s growing economy.
Mr Hicks paid tribute to the partnerships that have been created and the commitment locally to getting these projects to this stage.
“It is also great to have a Government supportive of developing communities like the Gore District to become centres of attraction and excellence for the future,” he said.
Both these projects were within the framework of Ready for Growth, a community-led initiative to make the Gore District the best place in New Zealand to live, work, visit and do business.
“It is heartening to see Ready for Growth, which embodies our Rural City Living brand, beginning to realise its potential,” Mr Hicks said.
Arts and Heritage Curator Jim Geddes said the PGF investment in the heritage precinct will enable the revitalisation of existing facilities and put Gore firmly on the map as a visitor destination.
Stage one will see the redevelopment of the Hokonui Moonshine Museum and establishment of a boutique distillery producing Hokonui to provide a truly immersive experience.
“This is a golden opportunity to tell a unique Southland story really well. When we undertook the initial project in the late 1990’s we had to bring in display and merchandise specialists from other parts of the country.
“Now we have excellent local expertise on hand to refresh every aspect of our operation, and they are all eager to get their teeth into it.”
The development of the Maruawai Centre (stage two) in an adjacent building is the culmination of a 12 year research partnership between the Gore District Historical Society, Hokonui Runanga and the Council’s arts and heritage team.
“It will present a rich tapestry of local stories and give visitors an in-depth understanding of the place we live in – Maruawai, Valley of Water.”
Some of the District’s nationally known attributes such as Sgt Dan the Creamota Man and the brown trout fishery will also be celebrated in tandem with an expanded visitor centre.
Maruawai – Maruawai, which means Valley of Water, is the original name for the Gore District. The project is an exciting and unique urban regeneration project that will put Gore firmly on New Zealand’s tourism map. It will revitalise and expand existing facilities to create an internationally significant arts and heritage destination that combines iwi culture and history with eccentric and eclectic brands and pioneering stories.
It features a boutique Hokonui moonshine distillery, to be completed in phase one.
Hokonui Huanui – The Hokonui Huanui (Highway) aims to generate shared community responsibility in ensuring all children and young people in the Gore district have the skills and wellbeing to travel seamlessly from birth to adulthood. The goal is: Success for all – no-one left behind.
It is a joint initiative between the Council, Hokonui Rūnanga, Community Networking Trust and Eastern Southland Community of Learning (Kāhui Ako)