MLT Hokonui Fashion Design Awards

The eyes of the fashion world turn south once a year for the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards. 

From relatively humble beginnings at Gore’s St James Theatre in 1988, the event has grown into an annual highlight on the Aotearoa fashion calendar.

Hundreds of garments – from avant-garde to the latest street fashion – are submitted by amateur designers from all around New Zealand, and often from overseas.

Prestigious judges grace the panel –Karen Walker, Nic Blanchet, Francis Hooper, Trelise Cooper, Kate Sylvester, Liz Findlay, Doris Du Pont and Margi Robertson have all made their mark in the past, while winners often go on to glittering careers in the fashion industry.

Next event date: 28 - 29 July 2023
Location: Gore
Keen to learn more: hokonuifashion.co.nz

The fashion doesn’t just stay on the catwalk – a glamorous audience of locals and fashionistas from all over the country make the annual trek to Gore for two of the best nights of the year.

It’s truly a place to see and be seen, with industry heavyweights and gorgeously arrayed farmers standing shoulder to shoulder enjoying the great southern spectacle.

After more than 30 years, the Hokonui awards hold the distinguished mantle of longest running fashion design awards of their type in New Zealand.  

The first night of the awards is the Strictly Design evening with an opportunity to see all designs on the catwalk, with seating arranged theatre style, and the sought-after school category winners presented.

Then it’s time for the Gala Awards, a glittering evening featuring all competition designs, fantastic entertainment, judges’ showcases and the award presentations.

Audiences and judges are stopped in their tracks as previously unknown designers wow with innovative creations.

Fashion trends come and go reflecting the dynamic world around us.

Designs may shine a light on natural materials, and sustainability, or something new that seamlessly combines great function with imaginative design.


Streetwear, Natural Fibres, Nightlife, Recycled, Menswear, Use of Fabric, Best Use of Wool, Most Commercial Potential, Southland Designer, Young Designer and the Auaha Award - the range of awards on offer cover the field.


The awards remind us of the plethora of talent we have on our shores and stand as a community celebration of the unique approaches and qualities of Kiwi designers.

While you sample fashion delights by night, explore some of Gore’s best kept secrets by day - fly a vintage aircraft or view world-class art, try your hand at casting for brown trout in the world-famous Mataura River, sample Hokonui moonshine, or enjoy walks in the district’s natural playgrounds.


Come for the fashion - stay for the fun. You’ll find Gore has something unique to offer everyone.

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