Two time travellers visit from faraway

Bob Archer (left), aka Viscount Eastman Wesley Archardt III, with his husband Allen Borgwardt...
Bob Archer (left), aka Viscount Eastman Wesley Archardt III, with his husband Allen Borgwardt dressed up for the international festival. PHOTO: SHANNON GILLIES
The pathway to becoming a Steampunker can begin at any age and can take you to the other side of the world.

This past week, people from the United States, the United Kingdom and even Romania have made the trek to the New Zealand capital of Steampunk, Oamaru.

Wisconsin couple Allen Borgwardt (64) and Bob Archer (55), aka Viscount Eastman Wesley Archardt III, tumbled into the land of Steampunk about three years ago.

Mr Archer was roped in by a friend.

``When I do something, I jump in 100%. One of my signatures in the States when I'm at a convention is I change five or six times a day.''

He can carry 15 coats, 18 hats and several pairs of shoes for a Steampunk festival.

Mr Borgwardt was dipping his toes into Steampunk for the first time on this trip, wading into the movement via a recent steampunk event in Palmerston North.

``Everyone there was like a big family. They instantly become your best friend.''

However, while enjoying the New Zealand festivals, he had yet to adopt a Steampunk persona and that was a huge part of the culture.

``I'm feeling my own pressure [to get one] because everyone introduces themselves as their persona.''

Mr Archer described his leap into Steampunk as a journey ``of adventure, creativity and discovery''.

``It's a chance to be a different part of you. You can let a bit of yourself out.''

What stood out for both of them about the Steampunk scene was how welcoming and encouraging people were.

Mr Borgwardt was not sure if that would be enough to make him create a persona or keep him in Steampunk, but he was more than pleased with the generosity he encountered in Oamaru.

``I've heard people totally change when they become their persona - shy, quiet people suddenly become quite outgoing.''


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