The Official Wizard of New Zealand Fired After More Than Two Decades on the Christchurch Payroll

Ian Brackenbury Channell, known as the Wizard of New Zealand, waves in front of a memorial at the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch on March 21, 2019,
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Ian Brackenbury Channell, 88, who has been with the Christchurch City Council since 1998, appeared disappointed with the decision.

In this challenging job market, no one is immune, even if you are an “official” wizard.

Ian Brackenbury Channell, also known as The Wizard of New Zealand, was told by the Christchurch City Council that his “acts of wizardry and other wizard-like services,” were no longer needed since it no longer fits in the modern image the city is going for, The New York Times reported. 

Council assistant chief executive Lynn McClelland told the New Zealand publication Stuff that it was a difficult decision to make, and said the final payment under the contract would be made in December.

“The council has met with The Wizard and sent him a letter thanking him for his services to Christchurch over the past decades, and informing him that we are bringing our formal contractual arrangement to a close.”

McClleland added: “The promotional landscape in Ōtautahi Christchurch is changing, with new and different promotional programs that will increasingly reflect our diverse communities and showcase a vibrant, diverse, modern city that is attractive to residents, domestic and international visitors, new businesses, and skilled migrant workers,” 

The 88-year-old Channell, who has worked for the Christchurch City Council since 1998, appeared disappointed with the decision.

“They are a bunch of bureaucrats who have no imagination,” Channell said, according to Stuff. 

Channell was a street performer for decades and worked as a ‘pro bono’ wizard for 16 years before he was named the city’s official wizard in 1982. He is believed to be the world’s only wizard to appear on a government payroll, the Times reported.

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