Actual Town Wizard Canceled After 23 Magical Years: ‘A Difficult Decision’

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
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