Angela Taylor undergoes quite a transformation just by changing hats.
When she takes off the hat she wears for her job as a meter reader for Wells Instrument and Electrical, she puts on the hat of Merchant Lecretia of the time-travelling tea trade – a steampunk character she has brought to life over the past few years.
“Meter reading is just how I seamlessly blend into this reality,” Ms Taylor said.
“That is what I tell people anyway.
“I get some funny looks sometimes when I turn up to read someone’s meter and they recognise me but don’t know why.”
Ms Taylor became enamored with steampunk about 2012 or 2013 when she entered work in a steampunk art exhibition.
From there, she met some “like-minded individuals” involved in the local steampunk community.
“Steampunk to me is purely aesthetic – it is a future imagined by a past, in an era where everything was mechanical and steam-powered.”
She set up the Gadgetorium in 2015, a science fiction inventors emporium upstairs in the Woolstore complex.
“It is mainly costuming and props. It is designed to be about inspiring, rather than selling.
“The whole purpose is to inspire people to get involved and get creative with their costumes and back-stories.
“A big part of it is having a good sense of humour and a creative mind.”
She used a lot of second-hand objects in her creations and took a dozen steampunks out on an op-shop tour on Thursday, an annual fixture for the Steampunk Festival.
“We love getting out there; we don’t dress like this to not be seen.
“I would love to get a bus and take them further out in the district.”
Ms Taylor is also lead singer and songwriter in Oamaru steampunk-themed band The Merchants
The band plays original songs based on steampunk and science-fiction themes.
It played to a full house at the Penguin Club on Saturday night with a Jack the Ripper-themed set, complete with toe tags.
“We met a few musicians from the United Kingdom who were keen to get a network open.
“The point of the gig was to fundraise for a recording session so we can get ourselves out there more.
“It was a ripper of a night.”
Not content with just being a time-travelling meter reader, Ms Taylor has also started the Waitaki Maori Culture Group, in the hopes of reacquainting herself and others with Maori culture.
“We welcome anyone. It is casual and free, you don’t have to commit.
“We do kapa haka and we want to reacquaint ourselves with the language too.
The group meets from 7pm to 8pm on Monday nights at the Te Whare Koa Community marae.