Thursday12:00 – 5:00 pm.
Friday12:00 – 5:00 pm.
Saturday10:00 am – 2:00 pm.
56 London Street, Lyttelton
When the clock strikes 3pm, Speedcube NZ comes alive. School kids flock to this small but perfectly-formed shop hoping to hone their skills. The goal: master the speedcube puzzle just a little bit faster than the time before.
Mike Field - the owner of Speedcube NZ - can easily pinpoint his introduction to speedcubing. An old flatmate had a gimmicky rubix cube keyring that required solving. Fifteen years later, he’s the biggest distributor of speedcubes in NZ. “Cubing” as it's referred to by its players, is its own special world. If you fall down the wormhole there’s no going back (or so they say!). The NZ Speedcube scene is competitive; players are continuously testing their talent against the clock. 3.47 seconds is the current world record for solving a 3x3 cube. Faster than it takes to say “mind-boggling” which quite frankly it is.
The shop stocks a wide variety of cubes and puzzles - different shapes from the pyraminx (tetrahedron) and the megaminx (dodecahedron), a plethora of colours and textures. Sizes range from the compact 2x2, through to the elaborate 11x11 (more like a knitting project according to Mike). The most popular? The original Rubik’s design of 3x3 closely followed by its younger cousin, the 2x2. You can try before you buy, play around until you find the one you want - what you really, really want.
Mike’s philosophy behind the shop - the first of its kind in NZ - is to encourage young speedcubers to bring their burgeoning online community into a real-life experience. Here they have the chance to connect face to face, have a yarn and flex some serious speedcube muscle (cos boy they’re fast!). The coolest part, he explains, is being able to give speedcubers a job they love. Four young speedcubers help out over the weekends, both in the shop and Mike’s bustling distribution centre aka his garden shed.
Don’t feel disheartened if you’re feeling out-of-touch, Mike is running monthly “Cubing for Grown Ups” with support from Three Boys Brewery -- a chance for parents to have a cold brew and brush up on their flailing moves. Kudos with the kids is almost guaranteed. Let’s face it, they think you’re pretty cubeless most of the time.
Words by Kelly Tapper & Photography by Nancy Zhou
56 London Street, Lyttelton
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