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The museum tells stories of Southland's illicit moonshine days. Colourful characters populated the industry and their adventures are kept alive through recreations, audio-visuals and artifacts. Don't be afriad to try the whisky (made from an original local recipe) it is available for purchase and you're welcome to try before you buy.
Over the road from the museum is a public art museum featuring the internationally renowned John Money collection, one of the largest holdings of works by contemporary Kiwi artist Ralph Hotere and significant works by West African carvers. It also has an exciting programme of temporary exhibitions, performances and workshops.
The town’s early history is celebrated at the Gore Historical Museum. Displays include Victoriana, gold recovery, farming relics and domestic and medical memorabilia. The museum tells of the lives of Maori and early European settlers, there’s an exhibition dedicated to fly fishing on the Mataura River, and the adjacent Hokonui Heritage Research Centre caters to visitors interested in local history.
At the old Mandeville airfield, 15 minutes’ drive northwest of Gore, is an aviation museum that is one of the area’s main draw cards. Opened in 2006 and run by the Croydon Aviation Heritage Trust, it holds a collection of vintage aircraft and is one of the area’s top attractions. Displays and interpretations celebrate the lives of pioneer aviators and charter flights are available, weather-permitting. The Croydon Aircraft Company workshops and The Moth restaurant are also on site.
The newly restored and re-imagined Mataura Museum opened in March 2015. The Museum is based in an 1880s Cottage known locally as Clematis Cottage. It showcases the Mataura Paper Mill and Freezing Works and uses touch screens to bring Mataura’s rich social and industrial heritage to life. The collection includes a strong set of local photographs dating back to the 1870s and a comprehensive local history archive. The Mataura Museum is run by a dedicated team of volunteers and is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 1.00pm to 4.00pm. Admission free, donations welcome.
Decided to stay the night? Here are some great accommodation options.
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