Steampunk capital


We don’t usually need an excuse to go to Wanaka but this weekend we had three – a long weekend and two invitations to parties in neighbouring Arrowtown.

However, the weekend away, wonderful as it was, meant we missed one of the highlights on the North Otago calendar – the annual Steampunk ball and fashion show.

Steampunk, as defined by the Victorian League of Imagineers,  is tomorrow as it used to be:

The “punk” in steampunk is a rebellion against the present day preference for plastic and the disposable way of life. For many it is a search for where society might have taken the wrong turn at the end of the Victorian era.

Over the last 30 years a subculture has built up where people around the world have created an alternative Victorian future. The future and it’s technologies have been taken back into the ornate and opulent world of grand fashion and gentlemanly manners, a future where there is a dark side of grime and the corruption of power that has to be overcome to create new and better world. It is also a world where women have an equal involvement in politics, adventure and social change. The opportunity is also taken to parody the developments of history as we know it.

It’s an amazing amalgamation of art, science, history, humour and imagination.

This year’s show attracted a school art class from Australia – 27 pupils from Shearwater, the Mullumbimby Steiner School, in northern New South Wales, came to Oamaru for a field trip.

Steampunk HQ is based in Oamaru’s historic precinct. If you missed out on this weekend’s celebrations there will be other opportunities to appreciate the steampunk sensation later in the year.

The Victorian League of Imagineers is planning to put together a steampunk XV for the Golden Oldies Rugby Festival which is taking place in oamaru from September 30 to October 2 as part of the World Cup celebrations.

Steampunk usually features in the annual Victorian Heritage celebrations which will be held from November 16 -20.

You can see photos of the fashion show in the Oamaru Mail ; read about it at TV3 and watch a video.

Steampunk is coming


Last year’s inaugural steampunk exhibition at Oamaru’s Forrester Gallery was an outstanding success, this year’s promises to be even better.

On Wednesday, a  large crane was involved in preparing for the installation of something big outside:

Inside, the first of the many exhibits were in place, including  Dr Gattling’s Lunar Dismembulator which was photographed by the ODT.

The Victorian League of Imagineers are behind the exhibition, Tomorrow As It Used To Be which opens this morning. They’ll be celebrating with a street party next Saturday from 6.30 to 8pm.

Oamaru is New Zealand’s Steampunk capital but there are enclaves of similar creativity elsewhere.

When we were in Kununura in northern West Australia a couple of months ago we came across this Hardly Davidson.

It’s the work of New Zealand born artist, Al Mason, whom we came across painting a mural.

You can see more examples of his work at the Lovell Gallery.

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