It's no wonder wealthy Victorians had a maid to help them get dressed.

It takes Pirongia steam punk enthusiast Paula McWha at least thirty minutes to put on her layers of Victorian styled clothing and accessories.

Both Paula McWha, and her neighbour Barbara Preece say there's no such thing as over-accessorizing.

Mrs McWha says she gets a lot of joy out of becoming a spectacle in public - "playing ladies".

"I feel like I'm transforming myself from just an ordinary person into some other creation. Once I'm dressed I can feel that I can do anything that I want to do," Mrs McWha says.

Mrs McWha has only been involved in the Victorian sub-culture for just under a year after Barbara introduced her to it. She fell in love attending a local steam punk event.

"For me it's all the dressing up, all the creativity, making something out of nothing, you know you sort of find something that's about six dollars. A piece of fabric, you've got an old skirt. You've got a duvet cover, this skirt here was a duvet cover. You just 'roosh' things up," Mrs McWha says.

Barbara Preece says her steam punk creations give old items and 'junk' a new lease on life - creating, decorating and upcycling anything she can lay her hands on.

"It's using a skill that I have and I need to be creating something I need to be producing something all the time , I can't just sit and do nothing, and I'm at my happiest whenever I am creating something, whatever that may be ."

Ms Preece says getting dressed and going out in public allows steam punkers to put on a different persona - becoming completely unrecognisable.

Ms Preece says in steam punk she becomes Lady Victoria Vanderbilt.

"You take on a different persona when you're dressed up and it's really quite fun because you feel so much more glamorous than you do in your everyday clothes," Ms Preece says.

And there's even a steam punk language but the ladies agree "it's sort of rubbish words put together, but it's got a meaning", if you read between the words.

But neither Lady Victoria Vanderbilt or Mrs McWha, aka Miss Vercitea Errwit can speak the native tongue.

Miss Vercitea Errwit is a time traveller "gathering bits of gossip and words of wisdom, and I'll put it in a book at some stage", Mrs McWha says.

The retirees say they're always kept busy attending steam punk events or creating the next masterpiece.

And are looking forward to the Kihikihi Steam Punk Market Day in September.

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