Just a few years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine anyone saying this, let along Dame Kiri Te Kanawa:
. . . While in Dunedin, Dame Kiri said she hoped to visit Dunedin’s Royal Albatross Colony and take a trip to Oamaru.
”I’d like to drive over to Oamaru – it’s so beautiful. . .
I don’t know if her hopes were realised, if they were she would have found the town under full steam for the fifth annual Steam Punk festival:
From Auckland to Ashburton, Oamaru to Opunake and even Invercargill, they steamed into Oamaru for a weekend of Steampunk.
The annual festival, in its fifth year, is growing so rapidly – to 15 events over four days this year – that organisers have a tiger by the tail and will be looking for more help in the future to maintain the momentum. . .
ne of the Steampunk organisers, Helen Jensen, was amazed at how the event had grown from its inception in 2010, when it was a one-day affair – a fashion show with a gala dinner.
But, she admitted, it was getting to be a handful for two main organisers, albeit with a lot of volunteer help.
”If it wasn’t for people popping out of the woodwork, I don’t know where we would be,” she said, pointing to volunteers who had just turned up to offer help getting things ready for yesterday’s fashion show.
The number at the mess dinner with airship and teapot racing had trebled from last year, 110 being fed and entertained.
Yesterday’s fashion show had 130 tickets pre-sold, but attracted far more with casual sales.
The 200 tickets to last night’s dinner were sold out.
She estimated probably 80% to 90% of people at the main events were from out of town, but that had been one of the main aims – to get people to Oamaru as a boost for the town. . .
The weekend’s festivities included Oamaru On Fire which was also a raging success.
A funeral in Darfield on Friday and family and farm commitments had to take priority over most of the festivities.
But I did manage time for a wander around the historic precinct after a visit to the Farmers’ Market on Sunday and was entertained by a wonderful procession of people in Steam Punk attire.
Over at Oamaru Life there are photos and commentary on the Steampunk Festival and Oamaru on Fire – the latter includes a video of the light show.
The rediscovery of the historic precinct and the introduction of steam punk are just two of the attractions that are putting Oamaru on the map.
It’s still a small town but it’s steaming ahead.