How Oamaru Became Steampunk Capital of the World
Oamaru “used to be known for its population of blue penguins and having the best-preserved collection of Victorian architecture in the country”, writes Eleanor Ainge Roy for The Guardian. In 2010 the steampunk movement took hold in the farming community and Oamaru now has made it into “the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest gathering of steampunks in the world.”
“Some people can’t stand it, but most have come to accept that steampunk has allowed many shy people with slightly unusual interests to come out of the shadows,” said Iain Clark, who is widely credited with launching steampunk in Oamaru and likes to be known by the name Agent Darling.
“It has been particularly freeing for the creatives and artists in the community, to have Oamaru adopt something like steampunk as a core part of their identity.”
In 2010Wellington-based special effects and props company Weta Workshop donated artwork and statues for a steampunk exhibition in the town.
According to the article in the Guardian “the tipping point came when local farmers started turning up in droves to the exhibition”, which was followed by the wider community embracing steampunk, too.
“I think the inventive side of steampunk is something Kiwis are particularly open to – making things from nothing makes sense to them,” said Helen Jensen, whose steampunk name is La Falconesse.
“Oamaru has gradually become accepting of it. It is so different and unique, it can be divisive, but it has definitely made us more open-minded, and it has been huge for young kids who might not be into the mainstream – it makes them feel more at home here,” said Kristen Murdoch, a local who works at the information centre.
Turning towards Oamaru’s “seaside and you’ll soon find yourself immersed in a steampunk wonderland with pristine Victorian architecture, a steampunk-themed children’s playground and the Steampunk HQ museum.”
“The term steampunk was coined in the 1980s and is based on imagining inventions the Victorians might have created for the modern world.”
Article Source: The Guardian, Eleanor Ainge Roy, August 30, 2016
Image Source: Wikipedia