Town Wizard Sacked After Comments About Women


The official town wizard of Christchurch, New Zealand has, after 23 years of service, been let go. But it was nothing personal, the town council assures.

Ian Brackenbury Channell, 88, was not just the town wizard. The British-born conjurer was actually declared Wizard of New Zealand in 1990 by then-prime minister Mike Moore.

As town wizard to Christchurch, Channell performed “acts of wizardry and other wizard-like services” for the town, a tourism-boosting gig that paid $16,000 NZD a year (about $12,000 USD give or take.)

As the Wizard of New Zealand et al, Brackenbury Channell sometimes traveled from his home audience, across the country, and even as far as Africa to put on the displays that earned him the designation “living work of art” from the New Zealand Art Gallery Directors Association.

He even made 2009’s 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, receiving the Queen’s Service Medal for his service to the city and the country.

Still, it hasn’t all been bedknobs and Hogwarts. In April of this year, the wizard made some “off-color” jokes about women, stirring up a bit of controversy.

It wasn’t long after that the town council came to realize that 23 years was a long time and that wizards just aren’t “that cool anymore.”

The council said it had sent the Wizard a letter thanking him for his services to Christchurch over the past decades and informing him they were closing the book on his contract, a council spokesperson, Lynn McClelland, said.

The Wizard of New Zealand, real name Ian Brackenbury Channell, was contracted to provide ‘acts of wizardry’ by the city of Christchurch.

McClelland added that it was a difficult decision, but the Wizard would “forever be a part of [Christchurch’s] history”.

The city is embarking on new tourism and promotional direction that will reflect its diverse communities and “showcase a vibrant, diverse, modern city that is attractive to residents, domestic and international visitors, new businesses, and skilled migrant workers”, she said.

The Wizard said the council had decided to stop paying him because he did not fit “the vibes” of the city. He said he was a provocateur.

“It implies that I am boring and old, but there is nobody else anything like me in Christchurch.”

“It’s just they don’t like me because they are boring old bureaucrats and everyone likes me and no one likes them,’’ he said.

Watch the clip above, via YouTube.

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