Meet your Maker: Commodore Ranier Hawke

David Snow

aka "Commodore Ranier Hawke", The Merchants (Of The Time Travelling Tea Trade)

In June of 2017 the USERs travelled to Oamaru in New Zealand to attend the NZ Steampunk Festival. During out visit to that lovely town and festival we had the pleasure of meeting one Commodore Ranier Hawke. (It is only much later, yesterday in fact, that I came to know him as David Snow.)

We first saw the Commodore on the Friday night of the Fire and Steam parade.  He was on stage, performing with his friends in the local Steampunk band "The Merchants of the Time Travelling Tea Trade", or The Merchants for short.  We then had the pleasure of being invited to see The Merchants again on the Saturday night at the local Penguin Club.  It was during this evening that we actually met and had the opportunity to chat with the Commodore.

It should be noted that while the Commodore is not a maker in the sense that he makes and sells Steampunk wares, he is still a maker of items and perhaps more significantly, he is a maker of Steampunk music.

Any photos not credited are direct from David Snow.


1. Please introduce yourself… who are you, where do you live, and what do you make?
Hi, I'm Dave Snow aka Commodore Ranier Hawke and I live in Oamaru, New Zealand,
I make a wide variety of steampunk items and write steampunk songs.



2. When / where did the love of your craft begin?
I've always loved the theme of steampunk through movies and TV shows but only turned my talents to making in 2011

3. When / where did your Steampunk journey begin?
In Oamaru, I was asked to help out on several projects for the Oamaru Steampunk festival which was in its second year. In successive years I worked in collaboration with many other people on some very large projects.

4. Do you have a Steampunk persona? Who are they, and what is their back story? 
My alter ego is Commodore Ranier Hawke an educated pirate born in 1590 and rescued by a time travelling air ship. The Merchants fleet  buys tea and assorted goods throughout time for discerning Ladies and Gentlemen.




5. What does Steampunk mean to you?
Escapism. A chance to play as an adult with others who love the same sort of things. It also includes a lot of acting, interacting and entertaining which I love.

6. Where do you find inspiration?
Music wise,  my fellow band members. Were always talking about themes for lyrics.

Gadgets, weapons and wotnots come from some dark recess in my mind and no end of other inventors online.

7. What’s your most treasured Steampunk possession? Why?
My 1865 Remmington sidearm. I inherited it from my uncle. It wasn't worth anything so I steampunked it.

~ Steampunked Remmington ~


~ Time Herald ~



The aether engine on the Time Herald.


~ Other pieces ~

Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey piece

Rocket Pack

I am not sure, but I think it involves Science.

Brass Punk Head - Steampunk HQ, Oamaru

The Zeppelin - Steampunk HQ, Oamaru

Steampunk Train - Steampunk HQ, Oamaru


8. Do you have favourite Steampunk musicians / groups / artists? Tell us about some of them?
I have to put The Merchants at the top, But I like a wide range of music so bands like Victor Sierra, BB Blackdog and The Wattingers are in my collection.




I have friends in most NZ Groups and a few in Australia and the UK. Its a nice thing to be connected all over the world with other groups.

Artists is a hard one. I know so many wonderful makers and artists who put passion and commitment into their creations  I just cant pick one.

9. Do you have favourite Steampunk festivals / events / gatherings? Which ones? When and where?
Steampunk NZ Festival , Oamaru has to be at the top of my list  First weekend in June annually, but there are many I would like to go and be part of.

10. Where can people see / buy your work?
I don't actually make to sell. Some of the things I've created are collaborations,  others are for sale if someone wants them. I have some exhibits in The Gadgetorium in Oamaru, run by my bandmate and friend Angela Taylor aka Merchant Lucretia.


Facebook: Commodore Ranier Hawke
Facebook: The Merchants


Comments