Oamaru’s contribution to the worldwide phenomenon known as Steampunk has been welcomed internationally, two of the town’s Steampunk pioneers say.
Last year, Steampunk NZ Festival Weekend organisers Helen Jansen and Iain Clark were invited to visit the United States to talk about the Steampunk movement in New Zealand.
The duo spoke at TeslaCon 7, a pop culture event in in Middleton, Wisconsin.
They travelled in “full steam” which broke down a lot of barriers, Mr Clark.
“People come over and just stare you and just carry on .. look you up and down.
“We were a bit worried about security but it was no problem at all – they were a bit curious. There were no full body searches but there were retina scanners, fingerprints .. I was surprised they didn’t get DNA.”
Ms Jansen said they were warmly welcomed and the people were friendly and helpful.
She said they were there just after the presidential election and some of the people they met were upset about Donald Trump’s win and what that would mean.
“Everyone was a bit shell-shocked.”
She described TeslaCon 7 as an event where everything was done on a massive scale, and that included the facilities.
“[There were] 1500 people in one room and there was space to dance.”
She said people from all over America attended and they took part in teapot and airship racing.
“They did it well and did it to the rules New Zealand laid down. New Zealand Steampunk invented teapot racing. Oamaru claims Steampunk and goes out to the world .. they’re learning lots from us.”
Mr Clark said the noticeable difference between how the US festival was run and what Oamaru put on was the large number of workshops the US event held.
“Lots of things happening all the time.”
He said this year’s festival would adopt a few fresh approaches, such as a murder mystery, but Oamaru could rest assured it could hold a Steampunk event which matched what people would find overseas.