wizard casting spell
The New Zealand wizard is believed to be the only taxpayer-funded wizard in the world.

The city of Christchurch, New Zealand is casting a banish spell on their official town wizard.

For the past 23 years, a man named Ian Brackenbury Channell held a $10,000/year contract as Christchurch’s ‘Official Wizard’ (the only such position in the world, apparently).

However, Christchurch officials announced that they won't be renewing his contract following some incendiary comments the 88-year-old wizard made – and the comments weren’t about hobbits.

Channell complains that he’s being "canceled," but critics say he was totally out of line and deserves to be fired. Meanwhile, others are wondering why a city government’s been paying a wizard for 23 years in the first place.

World's Longest Unpaid Internship?

Born and raised in London, Channell moved to Christchurch in 1972, where he began working as a street performer. His wizard persona – grey beard, pointy hat, big staff – was a hit, and he quickly became a famous figure about town.

Channell was brought on as the city’s official wizard in 1982, and worked for free for 16 years. But even wizards have to put food on the table, so in 1998 he negotiated to join the city payroll. His official job duties: performing “acts of wizardry and other wizard-like services.”

Looking for a new gig? The world’s only wizard to appear (publicly) on a government payroll has officially been fired....

Posted by Universal Life Church Ministries on Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Wizardry in Action

What’s a wizard without spells? Channell’s official duties in the past have included casting spells to help local rugby teams, as well as performing a rain dance on New Zealand’s South Island to end a drought. Incredibly, shortly after his rain dance, it rained.

His rain dance was so successful that Australia even imported him to perform a rain dance in the Outback. And again, shortly thereafter, it began pouring.

It’s all over now, though. His final paycheck as the Official Wizard of New Zealand will come this December, the city making the “difficult decision” not to renew his contract, which Channell himself believes is because he no longer matches the “vibe” of the city.

Gandalf the Controversial

However, according to reports, the Wizard of Christchurch likely lost his job over comments he made about women:

“I love women, I forgive them all the time, I’ve never struck one yet," he said. "Never strike a woman because they bruise too easily is the first thing, and they’ll tell the neighbors and their friends, and then you’re in big trouble.”

He’s also suggested that women are devious and trick men into dating them, and has posted memes on Facebook that say men are an “endangered species.”

When asked to comment, a council spokesperson said that the city is simply looking for different tourism strategies that better “reflect our diverse communities and showcase a vibrant, diverse, modern city.”

Channell has a different view. “It’s just they don’t like me because they are boring old bureaucrats and everyone likes me and no one likes them,” he stated. “There is nobody else anything like me in Christchurch.” He continued: “I don’t like being canceled."

Still, some were confused as to why taxpayers are footing the bill for a wizard in the first place. One Australian comedian joked, "what is this, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Commerce? What is going on?"

What is your reaction?

55 comments

  1. Ty Ford's Avatar Ty Ford

    Over here in the USA, we had a self-proclaimed wizard as our last president. The outcome was not good.

    1. Marathuzula's Avatar Marathuzula

      Only the head of the KKK thinks they are a Wizards... so yeah, that checks out

    2. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

      tRUMP was NOT A WIZARD, tRUMP WAS a BULLWITCH FULL OF SAME !

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        I thought Trump was simply a bullshitter, John. He's nothing like any of the Witches or Wizards I've ever known. He seemed to be mostly full of locker room banter.

    3. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      It’s looking as though the replacement Wizard to Trump is not fairing so well with only 38% thinking he’s doing a good job. He’s only had a short spell in office though (pun intended) so surely it can’t get any worse……can it? 🤷🏽

      🦁❤️

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        If that man was really a wizard I don't think he would accept contributions for his magickal services, nor would he care for all that attention. Then again, since I'm not claiming to be a wizard, how would I know?

  1. china mayhew's Avatar china mayhew

    if his comments regarding women are true firing is the least he should suffer, he deserves a good swift kick and i don't have to tell you where.

    1. Marathuzula's Avatar Marathuzula

      How is your comment any different?

  1. Ms. Darcy's Avatar Ms. Darcy

    What is wrong with the world when a man jokingly makes comments about women and people believe he should be flogged? Nobody can take jokes anymore, lighten up people. P.s. I agree with him for the most part, women are devious, and I should know, I am one. Stop taking life so serious, you can't get out alive!

  1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

    Holy Christchurch, Batman! Nice work if you can get it. Hope and change (about 40 cents worth) abound.

  1. Charles Jude Platt's Avatar Charles Jude Platt

    As "Wizard of Planet Zigton," I say change your ways, brother Wizard.

  1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

    EVERY PERSON ALIVE TODAY HAS BEEN SCREWED OVER BY EVERY THIEVING POLITICO thats 100% of ALL POLITICOS, LIKE ANY THIEF THEY MUST PROVE THEIR INNOCENCE or BE FIRED a/o PRISON,,the WORSE BEING the G O Pigs...

    1. God Is My Savior's Avatar God Is My Savior

      Please refrain from shouting. God bless.

      1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

        PUT YOUR FINGERs in YER EARs

      2. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

        GOD is YOUR SAVIOR, DOES THAT GOD GIVE INTEREST on YOUR SAVINGs ???

      3. Krystyna Elaine Willis's Avatar Krystyna Elaine Willis

        Can you actually HEAR capital letters? No???? THEN IT IS NOT SHOUTING!

  1. Yanel Jay Laroche Jr.'s Avatar Yanel Jay Laroche Jr.

    The Bible condemns sorcery in Galatians 5:19-21. And in Revelation 22:15.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      That book condemns lots of things, all made up by the people who wrote it. It didn’t condemn slavery though, or even stoning people to death. 🤷🏼

      🦁❤️

      1. God Is My Savior's Avatar God Is My Savior

        You both are correct; one should not be overlooked from another. Both acts cause harm upon people.

        God bless

    2. Krystyna Elaine Willis's Avatar Krystyna Elaine Willis

      I am Pagan and I practice magic. I also believe God. Paganism has been around since before Christianity.

      Leave the judgement to God as to what is right and wrong.

    3. Tammy Miller's Avatar Tammy Miller

      Pharmakeia is the Greek word used here and in many places on the bible where it says witchcraft or sorcery. Basically the word means administering to people, providing to them material protection, with false claims of helping/healing, providing relief from the pains of life, etc.. Snakeoil, which gives many false hope and directs people away from our true hope, true provider, true protector, the true source of power and healing our savior Jesus Christ. Not to be confused with ministry

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    Jesus Christ was recently arrested in Russia. The New World Order and the Illuminati are slowly taking over. Could this be the beginning of the rise of the Fourth Reich? First you eliminate religion, then eliminate witches and wizards.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Those Jesus Christs must be like Elvis impersonators, Douglas. There sure are a lot of them! I wonder if they're organized, and have conventions.

      1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

        How do you know for sure they are ALL really impersonators? Couldn't one of them be the son of God? How did people 2,000 years ago know the which Jesus Christ when they were living was the son of God an not some impersonator.

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    There are a plethora of Roman Catholic chaplains in the military services (and, occasionally in the US Congress) who are paid for by the taxpayers.

    And these RC chaplains are able to turn bread into the actual body of Jesus, and water (or even we we) into wine.

    This constitutes wizardry - and is widely practiced all over the world.

    And anyone who knows that their prayers actually word, is engaged in wizardry — and it would help is more ULC clergy would categorize it as such.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      William, they only claim to turn bread and wine into Christ's body and blood. It's symbolic. I've eaten and drank that crap many times, and swear it doesn't taste like meat or blood, but plain wafers, and very cheap wine.

  1. Minister Carlos Ricardo Walls's Avatar Minister Carlos Ricardo Walls

    Only in America.Here I am unemployed,have been for years.Perhaps I can get this contract.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Have you tried to get a job in all those years Carlos? I haven't tried to get a job since 1992, and got that one, but it only lasted two months. They usually only hire people who have recent employment experience. It's better for the rest of us to stay home, and surf the web.

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    Sorry I don't believe In Wizards.Sorcerys Warlocks .Witches etc It's like magicians the world over there is an answer for everything.Saying that about women and insulting them.He should be Keelhauled if you know what that means.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Ofcourse you feel that way Nicholas, you wouldn't want your psychiatrist to think you believe in such things. It's enough to have to live with your self proclaimed mental illness, without them thinking you're worse than they already think you are.

    2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Nicholas, why are you sorry for not believing in such things?

    3. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Nicholas, you sound like a broken CD, the way you keep telling us what you don't believe in, like your psychiatrist is looking over your shoulder. Frankly put, and I think I speak for all of us in telling you "We don't give a damn"!!!

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    So thats up to them And in this case the new Zealand government actually DOES have a Separation of Church and State written plainly in their constitution word for word. We on the other hand do not.

    1. Tom's Avatar Tom

      What does "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." mean then?

      1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

        it means according to the US Supreme Court that Congress CANNOT make a national religion like England has NOR can they make any rules mandates or laws that violate a persons religious teachings.

        Its not hard to understand

  1. James C Riggle's Avatar James C Riggle

    Isn't there are Sorcerer’s Apprentice that could take over the job?

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      I know what your suggesting, but Kamal Harris is struggling with her job with the illegal immigrants situation. Good idea though! Could it be one for Pelosi and her covern…….just a thought 🤔

      🦁❤️

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        I think they want a man for the job, Lionheart. Telling jokes about women sound better coming from a man. You know, like presidential locker room banter. Like Trump, Channell the gray just picked the wrong jokes to tell. Maybe after he returns from Shadow as a white wizard he'll be able to reclaim his position. And if Trump would follow in his footsteps maybe he could reclaim the presidency from Biden the yellow (pun intended).

        1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

          Thank you Carl, I always love your comments. 🤗

          🦁♥️

    2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      They can't find one who will work for such low wages, James.

  1. Kurt Neuleuf's Avatar Kurt Neuleuf

    Remember hearing on the news of his appointment. The Kiwis were happy to hire him as a tongue in cheek tourist marketing performer. Over the years he has done a good job for The Christchurch tourist industry given the city a uniqueness to attract the tourist dollar. It is true he has done some marvellous things for Kiwiland, although he was strangely quiet in foreseeing the Christchurch earthquake. Not so good at forecasting how the All Blacks rugby team fare against Australia over the years. But as a tourist attraction he was an ace. Like any advertising/ marketing campaign perhaps it's time has come? /

    1. Kurt Neuleuf's Avatar Kurt Neuleuf

      The Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce (QLD Aus) Around the same time as Christchurch hired it's wizard, The chamber of Commerce came up with a campaign that saw women clad in micro bikinis feeding parking meeters from Southport to Coolangatta. mainly Southport.

      These girls became an international icon . They too performed a magic trick: created extra tourism in a tourist haven, increased local business and advertised the Gold Coast to an international audience. Although there has been attempts to revive this campaign, it's time is gone. Society has changed.

      Society is made up of people. We personally change every decade, our goals, views aspirations and outlook change . A 30 year old sees the world differently to a 20 year old etc.
      Society also changes by way of issues, fashions, fads, and sometime, economic necessity. (In My humble opinion)

  1. God Is My Savior's Avatar God Is My Savior

    Creativity is Creativity; however, when you step out of bounds, you must be accountable for your own actions.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    Ehrman, are you sure I'm not one of those loud and aggressive persons you keep telling me to avoid? We can't avoid ourselves, Ehrman. Haven't you heard "Wherever we go there we are".

    1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

      FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD, FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD !

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        5hankyou Mr. Maher for reminding me. It's about time I watched The Wizard of Oz, again. Then maybe I'll read Deepak Chopra's book, The Return Of Merlin, followed by Wisdom Of The Mystic Masters by the Rosicrucians. Just in case somebody offers me a wizard job I want to be ready. Try skipping along that yellow brick road with Toto, John.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    And "Wherever You Go There You Are" is a very good book on meditation by John Cabot Zinn which I purchased from Quality Paperback Book Club, the year it was published, 1995.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    Your right about that, Ehrman! The dull and ignorant do have their stories, but not any that I care to hear. That's one of the reasons I'm on a mission from God (like The Blues Brothers) to weed them out on this blog.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    Like any good wizard I'm getting started early this year with the magick of the holidays. I'm finally getting a train and tracks to go around my little Yule tree. It's called a Westminster Train In A Tin. It doesn't stand more than 2" high, and goes around a 12" circular track, powered by one AAA battery. It's the perfect size to go around my 30" high tree, which sits on top of a 20" round accent table, above a hand crocheted tablecloth, in the middle of the main room of my tiny studio. It's really cute, and will definitely add to the magick of the season, when I get it from Amazon.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    Different strokes for different folks. What some laugh about, others cry. We can't make anyone happy all the time, or everyone happy any of the time. It shouldnt have to take a wizard to teach us to not seek contentment from outside sources, but only from within ourselves. It doesn't matter what others say or do. If we don't place expectations on others we'll never be dißappointed by them. And if you don't like the jokes being told in one comedy club, go to another one.

  1. Ronnie Lee Clayton's Avatar Ronnie Lee Clayton

    Okay, so I am officially looking for just this kind of position somewhere in the Midwestern United States. :)

    I have long white hair and a white beard, and I do magic, including some street magic. Also am former clergy of a mainline church, so I could easily do blessings of the local high school football team or whatever.... I could easily update my costume, or just be me! ;)

    I just retired, so certainly open to an official crackpot kind of position like this!!!

  1. Gary Young's Avatar Gary Young

    The ULC should be about tolerance and respect for the beliefs of all. Ridiculing/demeaning a belief system is a reflection of the critics insecurity in their own beliefs and displays an entrenched opinion amplified by that lack of certainty. We are all the creators of our own realities, those realities are the external expression of our individual consciousnesses. If you entangle yourself with others who have the same beliefs you will be absorbed into that particular consensus reality. There are Wizards, ghosts, fairies, nature spirits. Because I have no experience of the many things others do does not make them right or wrong. They merely don't exist for me. Acceptance/tolerance is the way forward, then we can consign the witch trials and other persecutions to the dustbin of ignorance.

  1. Gary Young's Avatar Gary Young

    The ULC should be about tolerance and respect for the beliefs of all. Ridiculing/demeaning a belief system is a reflection of the critics insecurity in their own beliefs and displays an entrenched opinion amplified by that lack of certainty. We are all the creators of our own realities, those realities are the external expression of our individual consciousnesses. If you entangle yourself with others who have the same beliefs you will be absorbed into that particular consensus reality. There are Wizards, ghosts, fairies, nature spirits. Because I have no experience of the many things others do does not make them right or wrong. They merely don't exist for me. Acceptance/tolerance is the way forward, then we can consign the witch trials and other persecutions to the dustbin of ignorance.

  1. Victor Marcus Monroe's Avatar Victor Marcus Monroe

    After reading all these posts I realized I don't have enough bread crumbs to get back home. I'm only paraphrasing Lewis Black a known atheist and Socialist.. He said that when he first heard a certain politician making a speech. Hint: It wasn't Trump.

  1. Gary Young's Avatar Gary Young

    The ULC should be about tolerance and respect for the beliefs of all. Ridiculing/demeaning unconventional spiritual practices is a reflection of the critics insecurity in their own beliefs and displays an entrenched opinion, amplified by that lack of certainty. We are all the creators of our own realities, those realities are the external expressions of individual consciousnesses. Entangle yourself with others who claim the same beliefs to be absorbed into that particular groups consensus. If you impose your version of reality on others it's because you doubt yourself and seek validation, bolstering your beliefs by increasing the consensus. There are Wizards, ghosts, fairies, nature spirits, magic, extra terrestrial life forms, God, etc. Because I have no experience of what others do doesn't make them right or wrong, real or false. They currently don't exist for me, with an open mind perhaps they will. Who knows? Acceptance/tolerance is the way forward, then we can consign the witch trials and other persecutions to the trashcan.

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