It’s a steampunk spring!

Museums Wellington have just published their Spring 2016 Events Guide, and Capital! Steampunk is going to be busy.  We need your help, although that doesn’t have to mean any more than just showing up and looking splendid.

If you’re new to steampunk and/or don’t have your outfit completely sorted yet,some of these events might be a great opportunity to dip a toe in the water, give your new hat an outing … there’s nothing in the rules (there are rules?) to say you have to be fully steamed-up to come along on one of our outings.

First up is something we’re not involved in, but if you have aspiring young coglets or gearlings who need something to keep them busy during the holidays, this might be just the thing.

Space Place School Holiday Programme: Steampunk Science (4 – 5 – 6 October, 9am – 12.30pm)

Space Place (or the Carter Observatory, if you’re a traditionalist) has its own mad steampunk scientist and you can be the apprentice and take part in hands-on activities to improve your scientific knowledge and unleash your imagination.

For children aged six and over.  For more information and bookings see

The Big Hallowe’en 2016 (Queens Wharf, 29 October, 4 – 8pm)

This is big!  Capital E, Wellington Museum and Queens Wharf are all getting together for steampunk-inspired family fun on Queens Wharf, and Capital! Steampunk will be helping out.  Get lost in time in Capital E’s time machine maze, then travel to the mysterious 13th floor of Wellington Museum, but watch out for Professor Prime Evil.  There’ll be something for children of all ages, plus food stalls for a spooky supper.

Capital! Steampunk will be doing story readings on the small stage, plus popping up for a quick tea duel here and there.  If you can come along please let us know so we can share more details of what will be going on.  We’re not running the Maze or 13th Floor, but if you happen to wander into either one we want you to have a general idea of what’s happening so you can be part of the story.  The event listing is here.

Wellington’s War of the Worlds (Space Place, 24 November, 7pm)

This sounds splendid.  Six improv actors performing HG Wells’ War of the Worlds, with a Wellington twist, in a planetarium!  What could be better?

Bookings are open now and numbers are limited, so get in quick and help us lend some of our ‘modified Victorian’ look to the proceedings.  $20 per adult; event listing and tickets here.

Steampunk Weekend (Wellington Museum, 26-27 November from 1pm)

This is our big one – a weekend of readings, talks, craft workshops and Splendid Teapot Racing to celebrate the first birthday of Wellington Museum’s marvellous exhibition space The Attic (it’s what all steampunks wish our lounges looked like).

The workshops will include découpage, goggle making and English Paper Piecing, and the readings will range from the silly (perhaps Edward Lear) on the Saturday to the serious (women’s suffrage) on the Sunday.  The big event will start about 4.30 on the Saturday, when our celebrated ambulatory reading of The Hunting of the Snark will take us all over the museum, finishing in The Attic for the cutting of the birthday cake.  And we’ll be racing teapots both days.  New teapots are always welcome; check the rules here.  There might even be time for a bit of tea duelling.

Here‘s the event listing.  Let’s go for a great turnout – we could use some help serving tea, and for good old moral support.

Please get all these events into your almanac promptly – it’s going to be a fun few months (and try to get your hands of a printed programme from the Wellington Museum, Capital E, Space Place or information centres and libraries.  There’s a fantastic steampunk poster on the back).



3 September – Teapot Racing at the Mini Fell Train Carnival

This carnival was lots of fun last year and the Cross Creek Railway Society has asked us back to show them what Splendid Teapot Racing is all about.

The carnival is in Clifford Square in Featherston and starts at 10am.  We’ll be racing at 11.30, 12.45 and 2pm.  Our friends from Wai Steam will be joining us and it will be great to have a variety of teapots along.  One word of caution – we’ll be outside on a tarsealed surface.  It should be fairly smooth, but may not suit some of the tiny racing teapots.

Between teapot races you’ll be able to enjoy the mini train rides and the market stalls.

Come and celebrate the first weekend of spring with us.

Cognition – until 28 August

CognitionCognition, Capital! Steampunk’s art exhibition, has opened at Alfred Memelink Artspace Gallery in Petone and the reception has been great.  We have some wonderful works from both new and established artists – including a number of our own members.

The gallery is open every day at 223 The Esplanade, Petone.  Do try and make time to drop in for a look before the exhibition closes on 28 August.

There’s talk of making Cognition an annual event, so it’s not too early to start thinking about what you, or any creative people you know, might like to put together for next year.

30 July 2016 – Steampunk Food Van

If you haven’t yet picked up on the news, Wellington has a steampunk food van.  Good basic food, and if you give them an extra $5 for your meal they’ll feed somebody else who really needs it – free.  We think that’s rather splendid.

The van has moved to the corner of Taranaki and Dixon Streets, near Les Mills, and we thought we’d pay them a visit.  We’ll meet there at 12.30 on Saturday 30 July for a spot of lunch, then maybe wander down to Eva Street and the Wellington Chocolate Factory for pudding.  Lovely!

And then for something completely different (as the poet said), we’ll then promenade to the Wellington Museum for 2pm for A Short History of Poison and Power.  To quote the museum’s site:

Socrates. Cleopatra. Julius Caesar. Adolf Hitler. Alan Turing. What do they all have in common? Death by poison.  

The talk will cover some of the most famous instances of poisoning in history, those who committed them and our potential future with toxic and nuclear warfare.

From poisoning princes and popes to the anti-nuclear movement, be thrust into the world of deceit, power, politics, and all that comes with it.

Entry is by donation.

26 June – Midwinter picnic

Here we are, just past the shortest day and winter really hasn’t got started yet.  But Mrs. Hudson (the younger) feels the time is right for a ‘bring on the sun’ picnic lunch in the Botanic Gardens.

Meet in front of the Begonia House in the Lady Norwood Rose Garden about midday and we’ll go from there (but not far, so latecomers should be able to find us).  The forecast isn’t marvellous, but if we decide we don’t like the weather we can head into the café beside the Begonia House, where the Colonel highly recommends the cheese scones.

After lunch we can sit around to exchange news, take a stroll or venture into the Begonia House to look for triffids.  See you soon.

Ever wanted to be part of a Guinness World Record?

Well, here’s your chance.

If you’re coming to Oamaru for the 2016 Steampunk NZ Festival, make sure you’re at the Oamaru Club at 5pm on Saturday 4 June for an attempt at breaking the current record for the Largest Gathering of Steampunks.

Have we got a chance?  My goodness, yes!  The current record, set at the 2010 Comic-Con in San Diego, is a mere 185 people. Here’s the current record page.

There are conditions we have to meet to have our record recognised, so  please don’t be late (and don’t wander off early!).  You’ll need to be in proper steampunk finery –  jeans and a top hat won’t do it.  We need to have a couple of independent witnesses to verify the numbers, and of course there must be photos, but it should be all over by 5.30, giving you plenty of time to get ready for the Mess Dinner.

Let’s see how much we can break the existing record by.  And remember, however long or short a time we hold the record, you’ll be able to say you were part of it.  Huzzah!

And an update – we did it!

It still has to be validated by Guinness, but our final count was 228.  This is what 228 steampunks looks like:


See anybody you recognise?

14 May – Splendid catchup

It’s time we of Capital! Steampunk had a catchup for a good old natter over a cup of tea, or something stronger if you wish.

We’ll be meeting at the Bangalore Polo Club at 63 Courtenay Place at 4.30 on 14 May (that’s a Saturday, so the shopping/laundry/moustache trimming/whatever should be out of the way by then).  Come dressed in your finery, or not – it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is we want to see you – we have a lot of new members we haven’t met yet, so don’t let a lack of the perfect hat stop you coming along with us.

We hope to see you on the 14th.  Thanks to Paula from Clockwork Emporium for the idea.

Splendid Teapot Racing World Championships

If you’re partial to the splendid pastime that is Splendid Teapot Racing, we remind you that the time before the inaugural World Championships grows short.  If you haven’t yet registered your racing teapot, do it now.

The event is scheduled for 3-5pm on Saturday 4 June at the Oamaru Club – teapot racing has got so big it’s now a separate event!   Capital! Steampunk will be there; Stanley is keen to defend his title from last year, and our not-very-secret weapon, the fearsome STEAMBUS, will show what he can do (you may have spotted the Countess’ veiled references to Snarks in some of her recent postings).

Oh yes; there’ll be some teapot sheepdog trials going on too.  You need to experience that!

As always, check the rules for Splendid Teapot Racing, get suitable bribes sorted out for the judges and make sure you register.  And may the best teapot win.

Teapot Sheepdog Trials – an attempt at some rules

Teapot Sheepdog Trials logo

By popular demand, we’ve worked out some rules for the newest thing to do with a racing teapot.

We’ve created a link to them from our main page of teapot-related information.  The rules will remain somewhat fluid for a while as we figure out what works best, but that link will always take you to the most recent version.  The document also contains some guidance for setting up the enclosure the sheep must be herded into.

If you do set up your own Teapot Sheepdog Trials event, please let us know.  We also welcome your suggestions about additions or amendments to the rules.  Baaaa!

Steampunk art exhibition – call for entries


Alfred Memelink Artspace Gallery in Petone has asked Capital! Steampunk to help put together an exhibition of steampunk art and accessories.  The exhibition will run for three weeks from Saturday 6 August.

We need to see your best!

The exhibition title is Cognition, signifying the thought we put into our steampunk worlds, the re-cognition we give the makers among us, and – of course! – cogs.

Space in the gallery is limited so we may not be able to take everything you’ve got, but we’re looking for paintings, photography, jewellery, stunning hats, magnificent gadgets – almost anything you regard as your best work.  Ideally the work should be for sale, but we’re able to take a small number of display-only works.  There’s no charge for entering.

Please fill in the entry form as soon as you can with details of what you’d like to submit (even if you haven’t made it yet) – make sure you take some time to read through the terms and conditions on the second page.

Contact Capital! Steampunk or Artspace Gallery if you have any questions, then start planning your trip to Wellington in August.  We’re planning to wrap a number of workshops and perhaps the odd performance around the exhibition as well.