New Zealand Wizard banishes rumours he has retired

The New Zealand Wizard has no plans to give up his role.
The New Zealand Wizard has no plans to give up his role. Photo credit: Facebook / The Official Wizard of New Zealand

The official Wizard of New Zealand, Ian Brackenbury Channell, has denied rumours he is retiring after reports he was looking to pass down the wand.

A collection of overseas news outlets such as Fox News and CNN have reported the Wizard is looking for a successor as he wants to spend less time in the public eye.

On Thursday Channell, 87, spoke to Canada's CBC Radio to clear things up, insisting he has no plan to give up his magical role.

"You can't retire, really. It's almost impossible," he told CBC. "You might drop dead. You're not going to retire."

Channell's young wizard apprentice Ari Freeman agreed: "I don't think wizards are supposed to retire. I think they keep going until they fall off their perch."

Channell was titled the official Wizard of New Zealand in 1990 by then-Prime Minister Mike Moore. Previously he was named 'The Wizard of Christchurch' which is where he resides and makes all of his appearances.

Channell also chimed in on how he believes the rumours began.

"It's put up by all my enemies in which I have millions and they're all bureaucrats and they all want me to retire," he said.

"They can't stand the fact they've got a wizard here because nobody ever wanted a wizard in authority. People like the wizards I can assure you. Scientists, priests, academics, bureaucrats all hate wizards."

Channell believes the Christchurch City Council has been telling people he is retired for 20 years. He says they don't want him around because he's "too popular".

"I'm mobbed by tourists in the summertime. They gather round like flies but the council being bureaucrats they go 'no-no nothing to see here'."

Channell was awarded the Queens Service medal in 2009 for his wizarding and earns a salary of $16,000 for his duties which include promoting tourism and attending events.

Channell says he does what he can to "bring some ceremony back into New Zealand".

"I'll keep going as long as I can."