Monthly Archives: March 2013


Steampunk penguinOne of the things we first heard about when we were looking in to Oamaru was the presence of a steampunk culture. Neither of us had ever heard of this term before and we are still learning what it is exactly. It is a global phenomenon though and maybe set to be really big, at least according to some folks around here.

In Oamaru it appears to arise from the Victorian heritage the town has in the well preserved stone buildings and the activities in the Victorian precinct such as the penny farthing shop I mentioned in an earlier post.

There is a place called Steampunk HQ here that I visited with Mom and Dad and it was really interesting. The pursuers of steampunk are very imaginative and weave together a lot of elements in to the culture from stories to multimedia presentations to ornate repurposed industrial machinery. The HQ is in fact just one element of steampunk in Oamaru. We also went to a gallery exhibit put on by The League of Victorian Imagineers. There was a wide variety of art on display here from people in Oamaru and beyond, including the steampunk penguin pictured that I bought. It is now on display in my home office and so far is very inspiring. This little penguin can do anything in my imagination. The penguin was created by an American who lives in Oamaru and who, along with his partner, runs a boutique hotel here.

One of the more interesting exhibits at the show was a cabinet of drawers containing mechano-botanical specimens. These were exquisitely crafted pieces inspired by flora but steampunked in to a crazy sci-fi version with very interesting back stories.

There is a festival coming in June we hope to attend. We hope to see more of the clothing and outfits people create in this culture along with the stories behind them.