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Maruawai (Māori)
Sculpture of Brown Trout at the northern entrance to Gore
Sculpture of Brown Trout at the northern entrance to Gore
Country New Zealand
Region Southland
Territorial authority Gore District
Ward Gore Ward
 • Total 13.76 km2 (5.31 sq mi)
 (June 2023)
 • Total 8,240
 • Density 598.8/km2 (1,551.0/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+12 (NZST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+13 (NZDT)
Area code(s) 03
Local iwi Ngāi Tahu

Gore (Māori: Maruawai) is a town and district in the Southland region of the South Island of New Zealand.


Gore New Zealand
Sculpture of Brown Trout at the northern entrance to Gore

The town of Gore is 64 kilometres northeast of Invercargill and 70 km west of BalcluthaDunedin and Invercargill are the nearest cities. The Gore District has a resident population of 12,750 (June 2018). The urban area estimated resident population at the June 2018 was 9,910, the second largest in Southland. Gore is a service town for the surrounding farm communities.

It is divided by the Mataura River into Gore and East Gore, the majority of the town being situated on the western banks of the river. The Main South Line railway from Dunedin to Invercargill runs through the town, though passenger services ceased in 2003. Gore was once a busy railway junction; the Waimea Plains Railway ran west to connect with the Kingston Branch in Lumsden, while the Waikaka Branch connected with the Main South Line nearby in McNab. One of New Zealand's most famous preserved trains is the Kingston Flyer, which takes its name from a passenger express that once ran between Kingston and places south, but never to or through Gore although some people think that it did.


In Köppen-Geiger climate classification system, it has an oceanic climate.

Climate data for Gore
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 20.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 14.9
Average low °C (°F) 9.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 104


Before the arrival of Europeans the current site of Gore was a part of or near the routes used by Maori travellers. Tuturau, near modern Mataura, was the nearest Maori settlement. In 1836 southern Maori repelled a raid from the north, which provided sufficient security for Europeans to purchase land and settle in the area. By the mid-1850s large tracts nearby had been converted into sheep runs.

As crossing the Mataura River involved a long fording, the locality became known as "the Long Ford", or Longford. In 1862 a few town sections were surveyed on the west bank of the river and Longford was named Gore as a compliment to Sir Thomas Gore Browne, an early Governor of New Zealand. One of the first buildings was Long Ford House an accommodation house opened by local sawmill owner Daniel Morton

A village named Gordon after Governor Sir Arthur Gordon became established on the opposite bank of the Mataura. By 1864 a road from Balclutha through Gore to Invercargill had been opened for wheeled traffic which allowed the establishment of a regular coach service between Invercargill and Dunedin.

Becomes established

By 1877 there were enough business opportunities in the area for the Bank of New Zealand to establish a branch in Gore. Within another three years both the Bank of Australasia and the Colonial Bank had also opened branches. In 1899 the Bank of New South Wales followed suit.

After its construction began in the early 1870s, a railway line between Invercargill and Gore was opened on 30 August 1875. By 22 January 1879 the railway had been extended to Balclutha where it linked with an existing line to Dunedin. A private Waimea Plains railway from Gore to Lumsden was opened on 31 July 1880. This was subsequently purchased by the Government in 1886. It connected Gore with the Invercargill-Kingston branch line. By 1908 another branch had been completed via McNab to Waikaka. The extension of the railways established Gore as an important hub and had a significant effect on its development.

By 1879, the "Ensign" newspaper was being published in the town, followed in 1887 by the rival "Standard".

Becomes a borough

In 1885 Gore was constituted a borough and in 1890 Gordon, by now commonly known as East Gore, amalgamated with Gore. It acquired a nickname of "Chicago of the South".

By 1905 the population had increased to 2,354, compared with 1,618 in 1891.

The establishment of the Gore Electric Light & Power Syndicate led in 1894 to Gore becoming the third town in New Zealand to install a generator and provide a public electricity supply.

From the end of the Second World War until 1976 Gore enjoyed prosperity driven by record prices for agricultural produce which saw the town’s population rise from 5,000 in 1945 to 9,000 in 1976. By the late 1960s it was reputed to have the highest per-capita retail turnover of any New Zealand town.


The farm sector went into decline after 1976 which led to a corresponding decline in the population. Related businesses also closed, including the town’s iconic cereal mill, which had processed oats and other grains since 1877. Since 2000 prosperity has returned as large numbers of farms in the surrounding area were converted to dairy farms to take advantage of high prices for dairy produce. This growth has led to low unemployment in the town.

Notable residents

  • Ronald Bannerman, a flying ace during World War I. Bannerman Park in north Gore is named after him.
  • Jimmy Cowan, international rugby player
  • James Hargest, politician and military leader
  • Amanda Hooper (Christie), International Women's Hockey
  • Luke Hurley, musician
  • Hadyn Jones, television journalist
  • Roy Kerr, mathematical physicist
  • Shona McFarlane, artist and broadcaster
  • Hugh McIntyre (1888–1982), chairman of the Alliance Freezing Company (Southland)
  • Brian McKechnie (born 1953), international cricket and rugby player
  • Justin Marshall, international rugby player
  • Mike Puru, radio host
  • Geoff Rabone, international cricketer
  • Eric Roy, politician
  • Jenny Shipley, former Prime Minister of New Zealand
  • Barry Soper, political journalist
  • Stu Wilson, international rugby player
  • Courtney Winsloe, Otago Sparks cricketer


Gore covers 13.76 km2 (5.31 sq mi) and had an estimated population of 8,240 as of June 2023, with a population density of 599 people per km2.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
2006 7,755 —    
2013 7,692 −0.12%
2018 7,911 +0.56%

Gore had a population of 7,911 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 219 people (2.8%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 156 people (2.0%) since the 2006 census. There were 3,360 households. There were 3,807 males and 4,107 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.93 males per female, with 1,389 people (17.6%) aged under 15 years, 1,314 (16.6%) aged 15 to 29, 3,324 (42.0%) aged 30 to 64, and 1,884 (23.8%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 90.4% European/Pākehā, 11.7% Māori, 0.9% Pacific peoples, 2.6% Asian, and 1.5% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The proportion of people born overseas was 8.8%, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 47.7% had no religion, 43.1% were Christian, 0.3% were Hindu, 0.3% were Muslim, 0.2% were Buddhist and 1.4% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 612 (9.4%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 1,938 (29.7%) people had no formal qualifications. 702 people (10.8%) earned over $70,000 compared to 17.2% nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 3,075 (47.1%) people were employed full-time, 960 (14.7%) were part-time, and 183 (2.8%) were unemployed.

Individual statistical areas
Name Area (km2) Population Density (per km2) Households Median age Median income
Gore North 1.73 1,713 990 693 46.6 years $30,900
Gore West 3.16 2,697 853 1,119 43.1 years $32,100
East Gore 3.70 1,443 390 594 37.9 years $28,200
Gore Central 1.03 180 175 105 59.6 years $21,900
Gore Main 0.61 1,251 2,051 606 58.6 years $24,300
Gore South 3.54 627 177 243 44.2 years $29,300
New Zealand 37.4 years $31,800


Gore has primary, intermediate and high schools.

The two secondary schools in Gore are:

  • Gore High School is the largest school in Gore, and caters for years 9 to 13. It has a roll of students. It opened in 1908.
  • St Peter's College is a state-integrated Roman Catholic school for years 7 to 13 with a roll of 387. It opened in 1969 as a private school, and became state-integrated in 1982.

The only intermediate school in Gore is

  • Longford Intermediate School, for years 7 to 8 with a roll of . It opened in 1972.

There are four primary schools in Gore, each serving years 1 to 6.

  • East Gore School with 86 students. The school opened in 1886 as Gordon School, and took its current name in 1907.
  • Gore Main School with 177 students. Opened on 4 October 1878 with 40 pupils. Destroyed by fire on 3 July 1896. This second school was destroyed by fire on7 May 1920 and a replacement was opened in February 1922. With the existing structure reaching the end of its useful life the fourth school on the site on 7 December 1984.
  • St Marys School, a state-integrated Catholic school with 185 students. The school opened in 1890.
  • West Gore School with 144 students. It opened in 1953.

All these schools are coeducational. Rolls are as of February 2024.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Gore (Nueva Zelanda) para niños

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