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Let the fun begin . . . Steampunk pioneers Iain Clark and Helen Jansen prepare for the festival.

Steampunk fans rejoice – the Steampunk NZ Festival has officially begun.

Serious enthusiasts have spent months preparing for the festival, which is being held in Oamaru for the ninth consecutive year.

That is certainly the case for a group of steampunkers who have been hard at work making their own costumes in various workshops hosted by the Oamaru Victorian League of Imagineers.

Jill Buckingham is one of the many who are involved in the workshops.

She moved to Oamaru with her husband 18 months ago, and the couple decided to make the leap into steampunk.

“When you’re newcomers to the town – you like to meet people and make new friends.

“As a group, they have been absolutely welcoming and provided that creativity that we enjoy.”

The best part of the workshop was getting to meet the “amazing” people, Mrs Buckingham said.

She had worked as a pot maker for 25 years, and had travelled extensively and lived in various countries, including Mexico, Ecuador and Spain.

Oamaru woman Jill Buckingham is ready to give steampunk a go. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

After travelling the world, the Buckinghams shifted back to New Zealand, where they lived in the Catlins before seeking a lifestyle change in Oamaru.

One of the attractions was the steampunk scene.

“I believe it’s the reason a lot of people come to Oamaru – they can be creative, and you can go to the supermarket in your steampunk or Victorian outfit and nobody bats an eye.”

Although she would not have time to participate in every event at the festival, she planned to attend whatever she could, she said.

She had several outfits ready to be worn at the celebrations.

“You’ve got to have some imagination when you go out looking for stuff.”

A few close friends from the West Coast would be coming to Oamaru to enjoy the festival, she said.

“We’ve obviously been enthusiastic enough talking to them about it, and they’ve decided to take a look.”

It was fun to be able to introduce outsiders to the steampunk scene, she said.

Steampunk NZ Festival

Not to be missed

Friday: Fire and Steam, Harbour St, 6pm-8.30pm. Family event with fire, light, live music, street entertainers and food stalls.

Saturday: Steampunk Parade, Harbour St, 10am. Steampunkers and “trad” Victorians showing off their most elegant streetwear.

Saturday: Teapot Racing World Championships, Oamaru Club, 2pm-4pm. Prizes for quickest, most entertaining, best dressed and more.

Sunday: Fashion Show, Oamaru Opera House, 3pm-5pm. Theatre pieces complete with costume and props as well as steampunk street fashion.

Sunday: Gala Ball, Oamaru Club, 7.30pm-midnight. Bubbles, supper and dancing to wrap a busy weekend.