Pedal Punk Four Wheel Cycle Hire an Exciting New Project for Steampunk HQ

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Steampunk HQ is excited to launch its latest venture; Pedal Punk cycle hire.  These four-wheel steampunk themed cycles are a fun and novel way for visitors to experience Oamaru’s beautiful Victorian precinct & Harbour. The bikes have been purchased from the Wellington waterfront, they have been totally reconditioned and painted in Steampunk HQ’s signature colour, Black!  A fleet of four Pedal Punks; two and four seater models, plus four black cruiser bikes are available to be hired from the Steampunk HQ car park.

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The Pedal Punk team ‘all systems go’

“We see these Pedal Punks building our towns Steampunk reputation and will further promote Oamaru as a must visit holiday destination,” said HQ spokesperson Jan Kennedy.  “Having our Pedal Punks cruising the Victorian Precinct and beautiful harbor area will add vibrancy and colour to the area. It will give it a real seaside holiday feel.  Our Pedal Punks will be great weekend and holiday fun for families.”

Pedal Punks are available for hire daily from outside Steampunk HQ and bookings can be made in advance by calling  0277786547.

Chris Meder Sculpture Exhibition Extended Due To Incredible Popularity

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Steampunk HQ is thrilled to announce that their exhibition of Recycled Relics created by late Dunedin sculptor Chris Meder, has proved so incredibly popular that the exhibition is being extended.  The exhibition that was due to end in August will now continue through until the end of summer giving locals and visitors an exclusive opportunity to see the talented sculptor’s works.

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Archie Sitting Watch

“It has been fabulous to see so many people coming to Oamaru just to view Chris’ works,’ said exhibition organiser Jan Kennedy.  “Visitors have been captivated with the exhibition as it includes such a large cross section of Chris’ works created at his Blueskin Bay home or at his Moat St workshop at the start of Dunedin’s northern motorway.  Chris died in 2010 but his creativity lives on through his wonderful creations.”

People will be familiar with Chopper Holland the giant motorbike on permanent display in the HQ yard and Bosca (the Gorilla) from the 2009 Steampunk art exhibition at the Forrester Gallery.  Bosca is owned by Oamau Councilor Sally Hope.  The other works have been loaned for the exhibition by family and from his close friend Jon Baxter of Perceptual Engineering in Auckland.

They look comfortably ‘at home’ amongst the recycled art sculptures at Steampunk HQ.  Made from worn-out, broken-down machines, Chris’ focused on expression and posture to make his creations react to the viewer.  Archie the Orangutan perches above a steel maze looking down over his re-acquainted friends including Cheeky Moa, Stingray, Fiddler Crab and various other birds and insects.  It certainly is a sight to behold!

Also on display is Jenny the Train; constructed by Chris for a short animated film made by Jon Baxter and set to music by Fat Freddy’s Drop.  In 2007 the short film appeared in animation festivals throughout the world gaining prestigious awards.  This video can be viewed in typical Steampunk fashion on a barber’s seat in the foyer of HQ.

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Jenny the Train

‘This is a ‘very special’ exhibition in honour of Chris Meder and we are thrilled to be showing it here in Oamaru at Steampunk HQ,’ said Jan. “It’s not to be missed and now thanks to the generosity of his family and friends the NZ public will get an opportunity to view the works throughout the summer.”

Steampunk HQ the Elevator Building – an alternative history

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The Elevator building was the largest commercial building undertaken by the design partnership of Forrester and Lemon. The exterior constructed of locally quarried Oamaru stone, was completed in 1883 and rose to a height of five stories. It was the first elevator building in the Southern Hemisphere. It had the specific purpose of handling and storing grain, based on the American principle of self-emptying bins.

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Image Courtesy of North Otago Museum

The Elevator is a significant example of the development of Oamaru as the gateway for exported produce from the developing colony. It was built during a period of sustained growth and its design embodied the optimism of the period. No others exist making this a rare and important survivor of Victorian investment, innovation and enterprise. Almost as soon as it was completed its role and purpose was diminished as the volume of grain grown was significantly reduced as the export trade in frozen lamb was promoted over grain.

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Streetscape of Itchen St with Elevator Building in Background Image Courtesy of North Otago Museum

A disastrous fire in 1920 saw the top two stories removed with the remains reroofed and utilised as a store. The adjoining wing with grain bins was completely destroyed. The surviving south wall is a tangible reminder of the event and the scale of the original building. Reduced to three stories the building retains an imposing and commanding presence and position. It is a prominent reminder of Oamaru’s industrial heritage.

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Meeks Elevator Fire, 20 January 1920 Image Courtesy of North Otago Museum

The building has survived to the present day due to geographical factors & a declining economy. In recent years, a commitment by the Whitestone Community Trust to restore the town’s Victorian heritage and architecture has led to an increase in tourist activity that has rejuvenated the Historic Precinct.

Opened to the public in November 2011 The Elevator has taken on an entirely new life form and function as the headquarters for Steampunk.

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Meeks Elevator as Steampunk HQ 2015

The Elevator, once a time travel craft, has now settled permanently on the shores of a small town on the coast of New Zealand. This location is an ideal inconspicuous resting place for a once mighty inter-dimensional time travelling vessel.

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Alien creatures and strange contraptions inhabit Elevator Building today.

Its Pilots are human, yet, weathered and evolved by con­stant travel through alien worlds. It is speculated that they still meet deep in the building, and that it is now their headquarters. From here, they conduct reconnaissance, scouting and protective missions to undisclosed locations. Many of their travels are recorded – esoteric footage of unusual creatures, places and machines can be accessed in the building at different data entry points.

Even today The Elevator building continues to exude a sense of mystery.