Last weekend, New Zealand’s capital hosted its first ever teapot racing event at CubaDupa – Wellington’s vibrant new street festival modeled on the lines of Cuba Street. The sport, a new favorite among Steampunk enthusiasts, involves navigating radio-controlled teapots through an obstacle course with tunnels, ramps and jumps.
Organised by Capital! Steampunk, a Steampunk events community in New Zealand, Splendid Teapot Racing saw radio-controlled cars carry teapots through the indoor obstacle course in under two minutes. Steampunk enthusiasts interested in participating had to register in advance, and according to festival co-ordinator Helen Jansen, the level of interest and curiosity in the race was quite high. “This event has pre-sold more tickets than any other so far,” she said. “This is a first in the steampunk world and a great addition to the Southern hemisphere’s premier steampunk event.”
Teapot racing was dreamed up by steampunk enthusiast Simone Montgomerie, and the first ever event was held last year, during the Oamaru Steampunk Festival. Montgomerie advised participants to acquire a remote controlled vehicle and replace the original body with a light teapot that fits the chassis. Then, all they had to do was use hot glue guns to fix the teapot in place and dress up the teapot to reflect a steampunk theme. But she also warned against using too much glue, because it would make the pot too heavy. Ten converted teapots from various steampunk groups around New Zealand were finally chosen for Saturday’s race, which was free for spectators.
Jansen, who also made a racing teapot of her own, said that it’s a pretty simple project to complete. “Teapots can be plain,” she explained. “I know there are some pretty fancy ones coming, but mine are decorated quite simply with paper and card in the interests of speed and maneuverability.”
“It encompasses a lot of things, but is inspired by some of the first Steampunk authors who used Edwardian settings with technology they didn’t have at the time,” Capital! Steampunk founder Leslie Craven said about teapot racing, adding that it’s a lot harder than it sounds. “You really have to take it slowly and gently and it’s quite tense because you’re against the clock”.
Photos: Simone Monty/Facebook