No more spells? Wizard of New Zealand asked to leave post

WION Web Team
Christchurch, New Zealand Published: Oct 16, 2021, 10:34 PM(IST)

Wizard of New Zealand Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

He faced immense backlash from authorities and attitude of hesitancy from locals when he had arrived in Christchurch in 1974. However, 10 years later, when he threatened to leave, the council officials had begged him to stay and continue his duties

New Zealand’s famous wizard is about to quit from his position and responsibilities of ‘wizard-ery’ as the officials have asked him to leave.

The 88-year-old, also known as Ian Brackenbury Channell, has been very popular with locals as well as tourists. However, now, nearly after 40 years after the city of Christchurch requested the Wizard to stay, he has now been asked to leave.

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He was usually seen addressing crowds in city centres, making predictions about matches, commenting on politicians and more. With a long beard black robe and his signature pointy hat, he also led campaigns to save the traditional red public phone booths.

The Wizard was also flown to Australia to perform his famous rain dance.

Channell had faced threats of being arrested if he continued with his 'wizard-ry'. He faced immense backlash from authorities and attitude of hesitancy from locals when he had arrived in Christchurch in 1974. However, 10 years later, when he threatened to leave, the council officials had begged him to stay and continue his duties.

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However, it is now time for him to take off his pointy hat, the officials have concluded. "It is a difficult decision to end this contract," the Christchurch City Council assistant chief executive Lynn McClelland said. The council is grateful for the valuable and special contribution The Wizard made to our city's cultural life, and he will forever be a part of our history."

Channell has welcomed this change and has peacefully accepted the council’s decision. "This was a welcome change of attitude by the city council after years of ill-concealed hostility," Channell said.

He was promoted from being "Wizard of Christchurch" to "Wizard of New Zealand" in 1990. Now, as his services are being terminated, his annual income of $11,300 (NZ$16,000) has also stopped.

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