November 28, 2021

New Zealand separates from its sorcerer

Christchurch, New Zealand (AFP) – After more than thirty years of loyal service, the wizard of Christchurch, New Zealand, has been forced by city council to step down.

At 88, Ian Brackenbury Channell was a town celebrity and tourists came from far and wide to see him address the crowds in his black robe, with his long beard, tousled hair, a pointy hat on his head.

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This magician was involved in all fights, lambasting policies or leading a fight to prevent “the soul of the city from being attacked” when the red phone booths had to be repainted blue.

He was called upon to cast spells in order to influence the results of major rugby matches or to perform a rain dance in Australia.

“It is a difficult decision to end this contract,” said Lynn McClelland, deputy in Christchurch City Council.

“The council is grateful to him for his precious and special contribution to the cultural life of our city, and he will forever be part of our history.”

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Ms McClelland explained that the magic no longer fits the image that the South Island’s largest city intends to promote, and that the new programs “will increasingly reflect our diverse communities and showcase a vibrant city, diverse and modern “.

Mr. Channell, a British-born former Royal Air Force aviator and Leeds University graduate with a double major in psychology and sociology, arrived in Christchurch in 1974.

When he started speaking in public, the city council demanded his arrest, but he became so popular that 10 years later, when he threatened to leave after a spell failed to strike. expected effect during a rugby match, the city council asked him to stay.

“It was a welcome change of attitude after years of hostile politics on the part of the city council,” he said.

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In 1990, Prime Minister Mike Moore officially named him “Wizard of New Zealand”.

Since 1998, the sorcerer has been paid NZ $ 16,000 (9,745 euros) per year by the city council to perform his duties as a sorcerer.

He did not hide his anger after the city council’s decision.

“It’s a bunch of bureaucrats with no imagination,” he told the Stuff news site.

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“They don’t think of ways to promote Christchurch abroad.” “They are not taking advantage of my worldwide notoriety. I am disappointed that they did not use + the wizard +”.