Big plans for distillery night

A piece of Hokonui history...Gore District Council arts and heritage curator Jim Geddes holds an original copy of Satyrs of Southland written by Bill Stuart which was published in 1982 and a new spiral bound reprint of the book. The book tells the story of the illicit moonshine whiskey distilled in the Hokonui Hills by the McRae family in the late nineteenth century. A relaunch of the book will be held at the Old Hokonui distillery unveiling next Tuesday. PHOTO:ALLIED PRESS FILES

Illicit whisky, a book signing, a CD launch, a politician and a haggis ceremony all come together at Gore’s Maruawai Centre next Tuesday.

The Old Hokonui distillery unveiling will take place there at 6pm.

Gore District Council arts and heritage curator Jim Geddes said it was good to have the event going ahead after a previous fundraiser had been cancelled due to lockdown.

“It’s a different event this time, because in the interim we’ve completed our distillery project.

“It’s going to be more of an official function.”

In 2019, $1.6million of funding from the Government’s provincial growth fund went towards an upgrade of the Hokonui Moonshine Museum and Gore’s heritage precinct.

Minister for Economic and Regional Development Stuart Nash would be making a speech and cutting the ribbon to the new distillery, Mr Geddes said.

The Satyrs of Southland author William (Bill) Stuart would also be at the event signing copies of a new edition of his book.

“His book pretty much outlines the history of Hokonui and the production of illicit spirits,” Mr Geddes said.

Unknownnz band member Pat Cox would be there to launch “a CD full of songs about Hokonui,” Mr Geddes said.

“Of course, the other important thing is that it’s St Andrew’s Day.

“There will be a haggis ceremony. People will be piped into the venue. It will have that Scottish flavour.”