1 Nov 2016

Oamaru - steampunk capital of the world

From Nine To Noon, 11:26 am on 1 November 2016

North Otago town Oamaru is known for its impressive Victorian limestone buildings and - increasingly - its association with steampunk.

In June it won a Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of steampunks when 228 people dressed up in their finest Victorian garb with an imagined futuristic twist.

Steampunk is sometimes described as a sub-genre of science fiction, which incorporates technology and the aesthetics of 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery - think Jules Verne or HG Wells.

Oamaru’s Victorian precinct lends sympathetic a background for steampunk enthusiasts to strut their stuff and now has its own steampunk museum.

The museum opened in 2011 in an 1863 stone building that had been derelict since 1920 and now attracts 40,000 visit a year.

Jan Kennedy is manager of the museum which she says has taken off is growing exponentially.

“We get young Europeans that love that industrial art and farming people that see all the machinery they used to work on, children that get to push all the boxes.”

Iain Clark is a steampunk and jeweller who makes modern items with a steampunk twist. He defines Steampunk this way.

“How would everyday items look if the Victorian aesthetic was still in place? If it was well made, it was crafted, it was beautiful?”

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