There were no naysayers to be heard at the opening of the $7.7 million James Cumming Community Centre and Library in Gore last week.

Minister of Regional Development Kiri Allan and Gore Mayor Ben Bell unveiled the plaque marking the opening.

The Gore High School kapa haka group welcomed Ms Allan to the event, attended by about 180 people.

In 2020 the Government announced it would give $3 million from its Shovel Ready scheme towards the redevelopment of the James Cumming Wing which would include a new library.

Mataura Valley Milk (MVM) also gave $958,000.

The original building was built by Gore firm Jones and Cooper and Fred Cooper was at the opening.

Remembering the past . . . Minister of Regional Development Kiri Allan chats to Fred Cooper (101) at the opening of the redeveloped James Cumming Community Centre. Mr Cooper’s building firm Jones and Cooper built the original James Cumming Wing and the business, now run by Mr Cooper’s son Peter, completed the redevelopment. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Jones and Cooper, now run by Mr Cooper’s son Peter, completed the redevelopment.

Gore District Council arts and heritage curator Jim Geddes compered proceedings.

The forebears of the town would be amazed by the facility but not surprised, Mr Geddes said.

‘‘Our district’s history is redolent with valiant crusades focused on endowing our town with first rate educational and cultural facilities.’’

It was a ‘‘red letter day’’ for the district, Mr Geddes said.

Ms Allan said the Government was ‘‘privileged’’ to be able to contribute to the cost of the redevelopment.

‘‘It’s about seeing places like Gore as being incredibly vital, the backbone of New Zealand’s economy and culture.’’

She was glad to visit Gore as her grandparents — Margaret and David Allan — had lived in the town and her father David had spent many hours in the library as a child.

Mr Bell said when James Cumming left money in his will for the building of the original facility he ‘‘set in place a legacy of togetherness’’.

Finally . . . Gore District Mayor Ben Bell and Minister of Regional Development Kiri Allan unveil a plaque commemorating the opening of the James Cumming Community Centre and Library. PHOTO: BEN ANDREWS

The library had been a controversial issue in the past few years but it was an accomplishment and credit to those involved, he said.

MVM chief executive Bernard May said while his family did not have much money as a child they were rich in other ways because every week his mother took him and his brother to the library.

‘‘It absolutely blew my mind when I was a young kid that I had access to all this knowledge and all of this history.

‘‘It is so critical as a community particularly rural communities we have assets like this so that our families can be creative, be inspired and learn.’’

Hokonui Runanga Kaitoko Ma ¯tauranga Jo Brand said the community was ‘‘truly spoilt’’ to have such a facility.

It was a space which different generations could use which in these times was not common, Ms Brand said.

‘‘A true taonga for all people in Maruawai that will serve us well into the future.’’

Former Gore mayor Tracy Hicks said the building was a ‘‘world class’’ facility for Gore.

‘‘You hear stories of people who have spent time in libraries in their younger years and the world is their oyster.

‘‘It’s great to have been part of it.’’

Community members Margaret Macgregor, Cassie Lott (4), Valmai Redhead and Karen Bellew were all impressed with the makeover.

‘‘I think this is absolutely fantastic.

‘‘The old building was old and past its use by date,’’ Ms Macgregor said.

‘‘It looks good,’’ said Cassie.

‘‘The library is like the living room of the city and this is a living space that will take this community into the future for many years,’’ Mrs Redhead said.

‘‘I think it’s fabulous and it’s light and bright and beautiful texture.

‘‘I can see children loving that space — it’s beautiful,’’ Ms Bellew said.