Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Good Press

twisted tree trunks, Bannerman Park, Gore; wrestling for the right to light

black and green to offset the black and blue of town-bashing 

Let me explain the comment under the photo above:
Somewhere in the bombastic 1990's, Gore received an un-deserved bad rap, brought on largely by a few cheap, throwaway, 'shoot from the lip' descriptions by a couple of 'small-town bashers'; city types; quick-fire McGuire-TV 'stars'; fast-talkers from the North Island; who during a nationwide, TV-documentary run through New Zealand's hinterland - claimed (on-camera) that they'd been bullied and ran out of town by local hoons in cars with rear windows missing. (Possibly, by local hoons who could spot a mile off, bullshit and condescending, pretentious prats).
Once safely out of Gore's borders, the TV made a meal out of this footage (such as it was) and got their revenge by giving the whole town of Gore a bad reputation - one that the rest of New Zealand seemed to swallow.

 secret garden; Bannerman Park, Gore

The hoons were ratbags and deserved to be shown up for the nasty types they were, but it was unfair of the TV presenters to to paint ALL of Gore with the same brush. They revelled in the material they got from the experience - of course - it was TV gold.
The good people of Gore just had to grin and bear all the jibes that followed (for years).
Not  that Gore allowed the cheap shots to take the power. They've got bigger shoulders than that. They just got on with living the good life that Gore offers and trusting that if the rest of New Zealand care to check it out for themselves, they could see for themselves: that life in Gore is good.

 cemetery outlook towards Hokonui hills; Gore, Southland, New Zealand

Gore has a sporting culture that has always been a strong one. However, my interests don't lie there; I'm more your 'Culture Vulture' and I can report that on that front this town is thriving. Among many other virtues in this area, the town has a renowned art gallery, a modern library, a privately-owned picture theatre that is on the Film Festival circuit and a fashion industry that is fast-developing.
Gore is also looking great, with its main street (looking wide, clean and neat) lined with attractive, well-maintained flower-baskets.
Whenever I arrive in Gore, or drive through; I am always impressed by its buzz and sense of purpose; the unpretentious energy evident on its streets.

statuesque skyline; Gore cemetery

During my walk around the town while taking the photos featured in this post, I was greeted several times by friendly, cheerful Gore folk who wished me a good day and I in turn, wished them one back.
Anyone with half a brain can see there's more to this town than just the few bad eggs that are in every town; a few stereotypes; a few cheap jokes. I lived in this lovely town for a couple of years in the late sixties when it offered solace and healing. It is a great place - and becoming even greater, because the people who care about Gore, are proud of it. Gore is good.   


Avus said...

Good on you, Kay, for standing up for what you know is a delightful place. As usual, the media just love to latch on to a negative story - it makes for more headlines than "good news".

Kay Cooke said...

Avus - So true. The idea for this 'story' has been brewing & simmering for a while now. Feels great to get it down and give the town a bit of a re-dress.

Roderick Robinson said...

Passed through Gore in 1999. I remember wondering whether the place would live up to its name; left it disappointed that no one came rocketing out backwards through the bat-wing doors of a saloon, plugged three times in the chest with .45 slugs.
My notes at the time: "Lunched at Gore at restaurant recommended in Lonely Planet, asked to sign the visitor's book. Price of houses in Gore unbelievably low - one selling for less than Drefféac (French village where we owned a very scruffy residence.). £70,000 bought a sprawling Frank Lloyd Wright type bungalow on top of a hill, four beds, etc. Bought Penguin Guide to NZ Wine then looked for wine in supermarkets (Woolworth, New World). No go. Exclusive booze supplier in Gore is

Yes I know I should have written about the architecture, the local intelligentsia and the micro-climate but I'm a hack for goodness' sake; left school at 15.

Drove through Gore four years later and it appeared to have multiplied fourfold. If earlier it might have been christened Slight Graze now it warranted being called Exsanguination. Lots of billboards; I mean lots.

Kay Cooke said...

Roderick - Thanks so much for your measured and informative response. I was really interested in your diary notes. Not really on the tourist trail, it was good that you even bothered to stop and give the town some time of your day! The liquor situation is unique to Gore (and other Southland towns) because it is the only region in NZ where one can't buy alcohol in supermarkets. The Licensing Trust hold the rights. However, the profits go back into the community, so the locals don't tend to complain, even if visitors do.
They have an elegant town clock, a golden guitar (it proudly claims being NZ's country & western capital) a sheep statue - Perendale sheep bred in Gore primarily for NZ meat exports - and a fish statue to announce its brown trout in the river, a museum with information re the boot-legging that went on during prohibition - Hokonui whiskey ... but I cannot recall the billboards!
I went to High School there and have happy memories of the place, but it does tend to get bad press for whatever reason (cold weather, unfriendly locals, un-progressive conservatism?) and I wanted to redress that, just a little.
Thanks for dropping by.

Clocking Out

 I have been neglecting this blog for some months. I think perhaps I should face facts and accept that it is indeed time to retire this blog...