Budget blowout for Hokonui Moonshine Museum project

Rachael Kelly – The budget for Gore’s Hokonui Moonshine Museum has increased, but the Gore District Council can’t say by how much.

Council chief executive Steve Parry said the issue would be discussed at an extraordinary meeting of the council, which was being held in committee, on Tuesday.

“There is a cost increase in what we anticipated but that is all I can say at this stage.

Parry said the project had been initiated by the Hokonui Heritage Centre Trust.

The museum upgrade is part of the council’s Maruwai Project, which received $1.6m in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund in April 2019.

At that time Gore District Arts and Heritage curator Jim Geddes said the project had been 30 years in the planning, and stage one would see the redevelopment of the Hokonui Moonshine Museum and establishment of a boutique distillery producing Hokonui moonshine.

Work on the project was initially delayed because the Museum Charitable Trust was unable to meet the equivalent funding before the grant money could be released.

In September, Geddes told Stuff the project was running behind schedule because of the Covid-19 pandemic but when it opened it would employ two new full-time distillery staff, would use local caterers and sell locally produced merchandise.

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