Alternate reality authors visit Oamaru


Two authors who have written four science fiction books visited Oamaru for the first time yesterday.

American Tee Morris and his wife Pip Ballantine, of Wellington, but now living in America, were in town yesterday to see what the steampunk craze in Oamaru is all about.

Mr Morris and Mrs Ballantine were visiting the town for the first time but had been told all about it by fellow Americans who were followers of steampunk.

“We had a lot of people back in America asking us if we were going to stop off in Oamaru to check out the town and hear about it’s steampunk, because it’s something we’d failed to do in the past,” Mr Morris said.

Mr Morris said he was quite surprised fellow American steampunkers knew of Oamaru.

“They’ve heard nothing about good things about this town and its steampunk following and said to us we have to come here because it’s just so different back home.

“It’s fantastic seeing them all dressed up like this and we certainly didn’t expect a welcoming like this. It’s quite overwhelming, actually, that this number of people have come along. We were expecting a couple at most,” he said.

One thing that amazed Mr Morris was that the whole town was behind Steampunk.

“Back home it’s mainly just events that we dress up for. Over here it can be for anything and that’s awesome and I could easily see myself living here.”

Mrs Ballantine said while Steampunk was probably bigger in the US, the following in Oamaru was quite surreal.

“We can’t believe the type of following it gets here in New Zealand. It’s fascinating.”

Mrs Ballantine said a science fiction conference was planned for New Zealand in 2020 – and it was something Oamaru should chase.

By Brayden Lindsay

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY – Oamaru Steampunkers met up with Steampunk authors Tee Morris (front row, holding cup) and Pip Ballantine (front row, holding book), of Manassas, Virginia, in the United States, who were in town yesterday. The couple were at the New Zealand Science Fiction conference in Rotorua and decided to visit Oamaru to check out the Steampunk scene here.

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