FOR THE WOMEN OF CENTRAL OTAGO THE TEST OF THEIR STRENGTH AND COURAGE CONTINUES EVEN TODAY, FOR THIS IS FAR FROM THE TROPICS WHERE FOOD FALLS OFF THE TREES.
Unlike anywhere else in New Zealand this is the place, which demands allegiance to the conditions peculiar to its light soil, rigorous climate, and low rainfall.
With extremes in temperatures and terrain from 300–1800 metres above sea level one moves about in layers, both in clothing and character to thrive here.
If you farm here, then that struggle by a single family could well be into its seventh generation by now and still unfinished.
For everyone who settles here, slowly but surely the place possesses them, until, like a transplanted tree, their roots go deep and leaving no longer occurs to them.
IT’S INTERESTING THAT WE ALWAYS DESCRIBE NATURE IN THE FEMALE GENDER AS BEING THE “MOTHER OF INVENTION”.
Perhaps a harsher mother than most in Central Otago’s case, but nonetheless an abundant one.
Its gold, leading wool fibres, tender meat, spectacular wines and now visitor experiences, have sustained our communities for almost 200 years. But will this continue? Are we doing enough to change things? We’re only just beginning to understand that as we produce more and sell it for less, it will soon be socially and environmentally unsustainable, no longer supporting the way of life we know and enjoy.
Every crisis has been confronted head on in Central Otago. The legendary tenacity of the locals who cling onto the dirt they stand on and just seem to figure it out. Be it rabbits, weeds, or relocating a complete town to higher ground.
That same stoicism and resolve remains alive among Central Otago’s sparsely settled 19,500 people today.
As a region they stand at the next 100-year crossroads of Volume vs. Value. Can they return to those close knit communities, the roots of the past and reinvent themselves? Learning how to sell less for more as an artisan community takes new understanding and resolve.
This understanding could well be led by a collaboration of Central Otago’s women. Adding value to the local economy in new ways means re-introducing old values in new ways in a fast moving world.
THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A SENSE OF STYLE IN CENTRAL OTAGO COMMUNITIES.
Learning how to sell less for more as an artisan community takes new understanding and resolve.
Who could even begin to imagine a high country farmer James Eden Hore exploring his feminine side collecting frocks? The Eden Hore collection began with this skilled stockman becoming intrigued by his housekeeper’s gowns accompanying her to many fashion parades where for a short while he kept his collar well up.
HE BECAME CAPTIVATED BY A 70’S AND 80’S WORLD OF ELABORATE BEAUTY.
Being a farmer his initial interest was in wool and leather garments but Eden’s growing involvement in glamorous events created what is considered an important collection at a time when New Zealand traditionally looked towards centres such as Paris and London as fashion leaders.
From the stories, Eden clearly liked to party and in the company of “luscious” women – beauty queens, designers, entertainers and larger than life characters. He travelled extensively making money from his astute farming decisions. Generous spirited in his community, he brought great style and interest and set the scene for other entrepreneurs and new events. His life may well have been observed by his neighbours and family as eccentric.
Nevertheless, this “mad bugger” farmer and adventurer created a treasured collection of glamour for the world to enjoy.
NEW ZEALAND’S FASHION INDUSTRY HAS ONLY JUST COME OF AGE AND BEEN RECOGNIZED.
Eden Hore, a visionary, established a trailblazing collection representing a unique slice of New Zealand couture fashion, which cannot be found anywhere in the country and possibly the world.
A larger than life character, he was another colourful contributor to the Central Otago Fashion story.