Leading information technology company IBM has predicted what the next big worldwide trend will be, and it's something Oamaru is already famous for.
Steampunk - tomorrow as it used to be.
Using advanced analytics to listen to online chatter, IBM has tracked the spread of trends across countries, time and cultures.
Based on an analysis of more than half a million public posts on message boards, blogs, social media sites and news sources, IBM predicts that steampunk, a sub-genre inspired by the clothing, technology and social mores of Victorian society, will be a major trend to bubble up, and take hold, of the retail industry.
From 2009 to 2012, the amount of steampunk online chatter has increased eleven-fold.
Three local men, Brian de Geest, Don Paterson and Jac Grenfell, are the creative masterminds behind the birth of Steampunk HQ in Oamaru.
Mr Paterson said, in its second year, Steampunk HQ was seeing about 60 per cent more people coming through the doors, than last year.
"From the moment we opened up the door of HQ, we knew it was a goer," he said.
"It's growing all the time. We're working on it all the time."
It was a no-brainer for the town to get involved in steampunk, he said, and he was thrilled by the way it had been supported.
"It's great that Brian de Geest had the foresight to get us involved. He's just doing it for the town," Mr Paterson said.
"We know that it's huge. We feel like we've got a tiger by the tail. We can feel the enthusiasm."
IBM's "Birth of a Trend" project is dedicated to understanding the science behind predicting online trends that can revolutionise an industry.
By studying how online trends spread globally, IBM provides insights into whether what is trending on social networks is, or is likely to become, commercially viable.
"Technology can provide tremendous foresight to help businesses differentiate what is a fleeting fad, versus what is an enduring trend," said Trevor Davis, Consumer Products expert with IBM's Global Business Services.
Mr Paterson said it was not uncommon to speak to travellers who had come to Oamaru especially to see steampunk.
"They stay overnight, so they can be here first thing in the morning and that's going to happen more and more," he said.
"We see them come from Wellington and Auckland. Probably our biggest fans are the Germans."
Oamaru residents had also embraced the trend to a certain degree, Mr Paterson said.
Many brought their children, grandchildren and out-of-town visitors to HQ during the day, while others fired the outside displays up at night.
For Mr Paterson, steampunk offered the town a quirky difference and it allowed people from all walks of life to become involved. "It's essentially about having fun and it covers such a myriad of different forms," he said.
The steampunk playground was also continually evolving.
"The council were forward-thinking enough to realise that it would be a winner if they got behind it," he said.
From here, Mr Paterson said the steampunk trend was only going to get bigger and better in Oamaru.
"There's a steampunk cafe which is going to be built on the foreshore," Mr Paterson said.