Hokonui Moonshine Museum in Gore – Day 163
Museums and cinemas in Gore
Today we are checking out the most unique museum in New Zealand AND chilling to a movie in the vintage St James Theatre. If you like this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities, head on over to YouTube!
Today we are going to be going to a museum dedicated to making illegal whisky.
This morning we are waking up in the little township of Gore which has a little bit of an identity crisis, it’s the capital of everything. It’s the New Zealand capital of country music because in every June it hosts the Gold Guitar Awards which is massive here in New Zealand and even includes a line dancing competition but Gore is also known as the Brown Trout fishing capital of the world that’s a pretty mouthful but it bares a massive brown trout statue right at the entrance of the town telling everybody what it’s known for.
So we just arrived in Gore and we’re gonna check out a lot of places, we’re gonna check that one over there which is an art gallery we’re gonna check that one over there which is the Moonshine Museum of illicit whiskey but first things first, I am running toward the Family Store and then the Hospice Shop over there because I’m a big sucker for a good bargain of old board games.
This is pretty sad but I did not find anything at the Salvation Army Family Store. On the way we notice a massive clock tower.
Commissioned in 1906 the clock operated until 1945 when the tower was considered an earthquake risk and was demolished.
The main attraction of today is hidden within the Gore Information Centre we’re going to the Hokonui Moonshine Museum which is super cheap to get in at only 5 bucks.
Join us on a journey back in time to Scotland and the origin of the Hokonui Moonshine Legend. Let’s go.
First we learn about the Scottish heritage.
They brewed a drink long, I don’t know that word, long sign was sweeter than honey was stronger far than wine. And that was the voice of the Kirk.
This part of the museum goes through how whiskey was first made in Scotland and brought to New Zealand during the 1800s during the mass migration.
What is this thing? Merman? He looks like he’s enjoying himself though. And the entire room makes us feel drunk.
Naked lady, bottle of whiskey. This is my place.
Anyway, moving on we are now heading toward this mock-up of one of the 15 hotels that used to serve alcohol in the Gore and Hokonui area and by the way, the Hokonui area refers to the Hokonui Hills that surround the city of Gore.
And it’s the Hokonui Hills that people used to hide and illegally distill their whiskey. And it is no surprise to anyone that the first people that came to the area and distilled illegally some whisky were Scottish.
While playing bar tender and drunk patrons in the fake bar we learn about the story of Mary McRae, whatever her Scottish name was, that came to New Zealand with only a as luggage an entire distilling kit packed. That’s really how Scottish travel right? Full of alcohol. And she came to the area and started distilling alcohol and nobody suspected her because no one back in the days would suspect a lady to be distilling illegally whiskey in the Hokonui Ranges.
After a short section displaying a lot of posters from the prohibition area which led to heaps of strikes especially from women workers, this leads to a display on how did people distill moonshine in the Hokonui Ranges. It really looks like a nightmare hell hole, it looks really hot and dusty and it really doesn’t look like it’s worth it to spend that much time sweating over an oven just to get a few drips of whiskey.
On top of that the whole process was extremely dangerous. From the imminent fire of the boiling alcohol to the cops running around the Hokonui Ranges catching distillers and sentencing them to up to 6 months in jail, it was really a cat and mouse game filled with action packed news headlines we see so many of the newspapers back in the days which were having massive striking headlines.
The Gore Information Centre actually hides another little museum here called the Gore Historical Museum which has all the artifacts from back in the day during the pioneering days. But, as all museums should end, we get free shot of whiskey to actually try what moonshine originally tastes like. to be fair, we are not really huge whiskey drinkers.
that’s pretty bad. Is that the bad one? Yes. Why would they go to jail for that? Yes, exactly. Cheers, I think they mainly drank it to stay warm in the months yes. That’s a little better. It’s still got a bit of a weird taste to it yeah.
Tonight we are actually going to another historical site here in Gore, which is the St James Theatre. It’s set in this grand art deco style building and it’s actually been more than a 163 days since we’ve been to the cinema together so we are having a nice relaxing evening in this actually really cool cinema. It’s an awesome way to end our day in Gore.
Thank you for the moonshine laura. It smells like tea though. Smells better than moonshine.