The New Zealand province of Canterbury experienced its usual bucolic peace when we first encountered Wizard.
Ian Channell's already long life had taken him through various corners of the English-speaking world, from old Albion to the confines of the downunder.
It was in Christchurch's Cathedral Square that the most he felt at home. The sunny morning favored the impact of his preaching.
In the square, two colored trailers competed for the first customers of the day. One promoted Chinese food. the other, yours wraps of kebab.
At the opposite end, casual spectators followed the moves decided by clashing street chess players, all gathered around a huge painted board on the floor.
Meanwhile, several colored 18 trams arrived and departed from the terminal station.
The Elevated Presence of Ian Channell, Wizard of New Zealand
Ian no longer even needed to reach the last steps of his ladder to stand out in the square. The sorcerer was dressed in a white tunic on which a long gray beard and hair rested.
He leaned on the last board of the improvised stage and enunciated his most recent theories to a small crowd of curious people: “Duck ladies and gentlemen… this is the eternal truth ... ".
It insists on how time intersects with space and both project themselves into an Intentional Universe of Will that converges to the supreme identity of each Self that reflects, in each person, the Cosmos.
In light of its esoteric existence, the conjecture seems to make sense.
Wizard's Vast International Curriculum
The sorcerer was born in London in 1932. Ten years later, he graduated from the University of Leeds in Psychology and Sociology. Later, he accepted to be part of the Adult Education Board of the University of Western Australia where he managed the community arts program.
He would also be part of the team of professors that endowed the newly created School of Sociology at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney.
At that time, a student protest movement gained dimension that, among other problems, challenged the conservatism of education. Ian Channell felt the vibrations and intervened. He created a direct action movement that he called ALF (Action for Love and Freedom).
His implementation, in turn, went through what he called “The Fun Revolution”.
And the two reforms resulted in a strong revitalization, in such a way that the renowned Sydney Morning Herald started to call the former institution "the university that swings".
Both the movement and its mentor faced negative reactions and unexpected support.
The director of the department to which Channell belonged, convinced that he was crazy, fired him under the pretext of not seeing progress in his thesis in the field of Sociology of Art.
But the Vice Chancellor had become sympathetic and supported the continuation of his social experimentations. The teacher took advantage. He persuaded him to name him a University Sorcerer and to pay him a small fee.
Thus began his long career.
And the construction of a fictional character to which he gave himself body and soul and who insisted on sacrificing his driving license, social security identification, passport and other documents.
Finally, Full Time Sorcerer
Taking over as a full-time Wizard, Ian Channell promoted himself and his ideals like never before and landed new positions: cosmologist, Work of Living Art and Shaman at the University of Melbourne and also Professor of Synthetic Cosmology.
Channell also used the fame gained in ideological, political and even economic struggles. Something worn out by the permanent confrontation of academic conservatism aussie and in need of new challenges, in the mid-70s, he moved to the kiwi city of Christchurch.
There he began an enduring series of lectures on ladders, which we were fortunate to attend.
Cathedral Square's Privileged Popular Stage
Back in Cathedral Square, seagulls invade the airspace and even the ground. Like winged forces of evil, they thrash and shriek.
They disturb the speaker's cadence of thoughts and the clarity of his words that the wind nor'wester it was spreading through the square, calling in more and more curious people.
The presence of the audience was not always taken for granted.
In the early days of his kiwi experiment, authorities tried to arrest him. But the sorcerer managed to avoid them. He returned at different times in the costume of a Church of England false prophet and a pointed hat.
He won the support of the public who got used to watching his dissertations.
It soon became an attraction of the city, mentioned in tourist guides and entitled to opine and act on the relevant themes first of Christchurch.
Then from the province of Canterbury, from across the country and even from the downunder.
The New Zealand Sorcerer to Sorcerer Promotion
In 1990, Mike Moore, an old friend, then Prime Minister, named him the Official Wizard of New Zealand, entitled to a modest fee.
Five years later, with the support of the Mayor, Christchurch hosted a Conclave of Sorcerers attended by several colleagues who helped build a nest of sorcerers atop the university's library tower.
Ian Channell would come out of a giant egg laid in a local art gallery.
He also sang a spell dedicated to one of the main rugby matches of the time, while free-falling and, accompanied by 42 assistants, he went down the river from the city in a gondola, an eccentric trip that he took advantage of to display the URL of his new website on several tablets.
Despite all the promotional actions, Wizard provided most of the services for free and its income was meager.
The fees awarded by the City Council were never enough, but the financial support provided by the love of her life, Alice Flett, allowed her to continue with her conceptually bold and fearless lifestyle.
Eventually, the Christchurch authorities hired him to promote the city, allegedly through witchcraft and related service. Entitled to an already more serious salary, of around 13.500 euros a year.
Despite this strong financial stimulus in his life, new evil spells would weaken the New Zealand wizard.
When the New Zealand Wizard Was Cursed
In 2003, the wooden house he lived in was razed to the ground by a fire that Christchurch police considered arson.
Wizard, his partner and two tenants managed to escape unscathed but Ian Channell lost his video and book collection.
The WizardMobile – built with two Volkswagen Carochas fronts – was also vandalized. Far superior forces would still come into play.
The Damage of Successive Earthquakes That Shaken New Zealand
New Zealand is located on the Fire ring and tectonic activity around the country and province of Canterbury is energetic.
In the year after we found the Wizard, Christchurch received constant threats from the depths of the Earth.
Several high-intensity earthquakes – including one of 7.1 – shook the region. They did not cause casualties but the damage was considerable. We continued to travel across the Pacific. Several months later, we returned to Portugal.
In February of the following year, we were on our way to New Zealand again when a shock much closer to the city than the previous ones devastated it.
It caused 185 deaths and one of the biggest catastrophes the Kiwi nation had suffered. We followed the dramatic events and, since then, we learned about their consequences in the Wizard's life with renewed interest.
The earthquake and its frequent aftershocks left Christchurch Cathedral and several other buildings around it in ruins.
As if Not Enough, the Demolition Order of the Old Cathedral Square
The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority ordered its demolition and provoked opposition from various entities including the UNESCO World Heritage Center, from groups of architects and, as expected, from the Wizard.
Speaking to TV, in the midst of the wreckage, the sorcerer expressed concern that it is doubtful that the people of Christchurch can continue to live safely in the rebuilt city.
Ian Channell also revealed his particular anguish: “If Cathedral Square is destroyed, I lose my emblematic space, my spiritual home, my exhibition space, my installation.
The people who follow me can stay, but without my square I don't think it makes much sense.”
He also advised the people of Canterbury not to become tearful or romantic like the Italians or the Greeks who give hugs and kisses for everything and for nothing and appealed for the reinforcement of the famous stiff upper lip British, of their solidarity and bravery.
More recently, the sorcerer decided to withdraw and abandon Christchurch for good. moved south to oamaru, to the mother's house.
He later returned to the capital of Canterbury to protest again against the demolition of his cathedral.
Christchurch's Recovery and Back to Business
Some time later, the wizard returned to the charge. In recent years, his interventions have become too provocative and controversial.
At a time of rising prominence for feminism and movements such as Metoo and the like, Ian Channell aroused the ire of a large section of his audience.
During one of his New Zealand Today appearances, he stated that he "liked to irritate women by telling them that they were bitchy and that they use cunning to attract stupid men."
Another of his tirades proved even more damaging: “I love women and forgave them all the time. I've never hit any… Never hit a woman because they get marks on their bodies easily, they'll tell neighbors and friends and create problems for you”, he dared to add in the same program.
The Dismissal Already Planned
After twenty-three years of contractual relationship, eighty-eight of Ian Channell's life and €350.000 earned, the New Zealand state has had enough of the sorcerer's sexist or idiotic jokes.
The press asked him if he would curse the authorities who dismissed him. The witcher said no, that he preferred to bless them.