Gore was named after New Zealand Governor Thomas Gore-Browne and the settlement was initially established around a ford on the Mataura River. The District is known to southern Maori as Maruawai - Valley of Water. Many business and organisations in the district also incorporate Hokonui in their name with the Hokonui Hills an important feature of our landscape.
The last intertribal Maori conflict, the discovery of gold and the Hokonui moonshine illicit whisky industry are just some of the attributes that have contributed to the District's colourful heritage.
The first Scottish settlers arrived here in 1855 and since then the landscape has progressively developed from tussock, bush and native wetlands to lush farmland. The Romney sheep was the backbone of the rural economy for many years and there is a statue to the breed in Gore's Main Street.
The world class fishing on the Mataura River and its tributaries has earned the District the title of World Capital of Brown Trout Fishing. Gore's large brown trout statue is a national icon and photographed by thousands of tourists each year.
Gore is also the New Zealand Capital of Country Music, hosting the New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards and the New Zealand Country Music Awards during a week-long festival around Queens Birthday Weekend (first weekend in June). The Hands of Fame statue, featuring the hand prints of many famous country music singers and songwriters, is another tourist attraction.