Christchurch ends contract with 'The Wizard'

It was a difficult decision allegedly

Christchurch ends contract with 'The Wizard'

After 23 years, the Christchurch City Council has announced that they’ve officially stopped paying for the services of "The Wizard." "The Wizard," whose real name is Ian Channell, is a well-known figure in New Zealand - tasked to "provide acts of wizardry and other wizard-like services" since 1998. It's all part of promotional work for the city, Stuff reported.

He was paid $16,000 annually under the public payroll - however, The Wizard's more than two-decade long stint with Christchurch will come to an end this year after the city council made the "difficult decision" to terminate their agreement with him.

"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," Lynn McClelland, council assistant chief executive, told Stuff. The Wizard will receive his last pay this December.

According to McClelland, the promotional landscape for Christchurch is "changing" with new programmes reflecting the diverse communities of the city.

Read more: Are you making these termination mistakes?

The Wizard did not seem pleased about his termination, and said he would like to know the reason behind the city's decision.

"They are not making use of my worldwide fame. I am disappointed they haven't made use of The Wizard as part of the promotion of Christchurch," he said. "I don’t like being cancelled."

He further slammed the city council and remained firm on making public appearances.

"They are a bunch of bureaucrats who have no imagination," he told Stuff. "They are not thinking of ways to promote Christchurch overseas. They are just projecting an image of bureaucrats drinking lattes on the boulevard."

He added that his termination will not make a difference, and he will remain as the city's Wizard.

"They will have to kill me to stop me," he said.

The Wizard of Christchurch earned his moniker for dressing up literally as a wizard in the Cathedral Square. According to the Independent, he was designated as a Living Work of Art by the NZ Art Gallery Directors' Council in 1982.

He gained further prominence for his speeches and making a stand against the heritage demolition after the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes. He is also hosts his own podcasts.

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