When I say wizard what place do you think of? Great Britain, sure. China, of course. Yes, yes, including most of Africa, all of Eastern Europe and a lot racist places in America. But somewhere on that list is New Zealand, home to fantasy venues and Fantasy film sets.
And while it may not be famous for its magic, New Zealand is the only country in the world that has a wizard on the government payroll. Christchurch, New Zealand has had an official court wizard, Ian Brackenbury Channell, since 1998, and you know he’s an official wizard because it says it on his Driving license. This British ex-pat, now dressed in a black robe and black pointy hat, braved vast oceans and airplanes (the 16 hours in a coachman style) in the 1970s to offer Christchurch his magical services, during which he was on a ladder stands and the weaving old arcane school of funomancy.
For nearly three decades, Christchurch Council has paid Grand Master Channell a grant of approximately $ 10,000 per year for his services. Of course, only a summoner of cheaper tricks would sell theirs for common coins. Instead, the powerful kiwi conjurer is paid not for his magic, but for his services as a comedian, educator, and tourist attraction “living work of art.” The fact that the Governor General of Christchurch is 142 years old and has a floating house is just a coincidence.
But when Ian the All Black turns very white Rumors have begun that the 87-year-old assistant should retire. Despite his apprentice, psychedelic funk band frontman Ari Freeman, who is just 39 years old, who makes him such a novice in his wizarding years, he’s likely to flood your basement with animated brooms. Fortunately, the magician has laureates scattered such rumors that they were “uttered by my enemies, of whom I have millions”. After all, a wizard does not retreat – he either lives forever or is dragged into the rotten bowels of the earth by a chain whip demon. We’ll see what option Archmage Ian Brackenbury Channell chooses in the end.
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Top picture: New Line Cinema / New Zealand Government