Twenty-five gowns accumulated by high country farmer Eden Hore could serve as a springboard to greater national recognition of the collection.

At the Central Otago District Council’s final meeting of the year in Alexandra last week councillors were updated on the “Eden Hore: High Fashion/High Country” exhibition, which opened at the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt on December 3 and runs to March 20.

The exhibition, which runs as part of the contemporary art gallery’s 50th anniversary programme, celebrates the collection of Mr Hore, a Naseby farmer who collected more than 200 couture gowns and turned his tractor shed into a fashion museum in the 1970s.

Council community and engagement manager Paula Penno told councillors the purpose of the exhibition was to raise awareness of the collection at a national level and get it “in front of” potential funding agencies and funders to help with future ideas and projects.

“The other thing we wanted to do up there is test our storyline and our idea of tying up and connecting in Eden Hore the man, the collection of garments and the face into a combined storyline.”

The feedback from the exhibition’s opening night was people were impressed by the garments but more by the story.

“They really loved the story about Eden Hore, the high country farmer in Central Otago.”

In terms of the future promotion of the collection the story sold itself.

“Eden Hore plus Central Otago add up to a magical proposition that genuinely engages people.”

Maniototo backdrop . . . A printed velvet gown designed by Vinka Lucas, photographed at St Bathans’ Blue Lake in 2019. PHOTO: DEREK HENDERSON

Coinciding with the exhibition would be “pop-up” displays of eight images of the garments worn by models in Central Otago landscapes from a photo shoot by renowned photographer Derek Henderson and a video of the photo shoot itself.

In late 2019, a group of internationally known fashion industry professionals, led by Henderson, created a series of photographs of Mr Hore’s most glamorous gowns shot in Central Otago landscapes.

The photographs are testament to the collaborative efforts of many helpers, fashion curators and textile conservation specialists, all drawn by the mystique of the Eden Hore Central Otago collection. This photography project was developed in partnership with the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the Central Otago District Council.

The first display is scheduled to take place in Naseby at the Maniototo Early Settlers Museum Inc Jubilee Building from December 28 to January 10 and then over to Central Stories Museum in Alexandra from January 15 to February 19.

After that the intention is to take the exhibition to both the Cromwell and the Teviot Valley wards.

Ms Penno proposed the establishment of a trust, the Eden Hore Central Otago Charitable Trust, to continue to care for the collection.

In the interim, the goal is to authorise the continuation of the Eden Hore Central Otago steering group for a second term, through to the end of 2023.


Haute couture . . . A garment from the Eden Hore collection on display at the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt. PHOTO: DOWSE ART MUSEUM

The steering group has Mayor Tim Cadogan as chairman and has guided the council in the development of a strategic directive for Eden Hore Central Otago.


Mr Cadogan said the members of the group were “top class” and had a collective passion for the garments, the story and the project.

“We could never come close to what we have achieved without them on basically beyond a shoestring shoestring budget.

“People get captured by this story.”

He also encouraged Central Otago people to get along to one of the summer displays.

“These photographs are an incredible addition to the Eden Hore Central Otago Collection that is owned by the council on behalf of the Central Otago community.

“Derek has captured the stunning presence of these iconic clothing items in the majesty that is the Central Otago landscape in a way few others can.

“I can’t wait to see them come home, in a sense, to Naseby.”

Councillors agreed to the steering group continuing and approved the establishment of the trust.