Wizard of New Zealand awarded Queen's Service Medal

  • Breaking
  • 31/05/2009

It nearly knocked him off his soapbox.

Christchurch's Wizard was today named as one of 75 people awarded a Queen's Service Medal for services to the community.

He admitted he could not have predicted a QSM in his wildest dreams.

"I would be the last person in the world. I am in shock, I still can't believe it. It's not possible, I am not the right sort of person for it," he told NZPA.

The Wizard, 76, who was born as Ian Brackenbury Channell, was included in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours and was "notable for reviving the ancient art of rhetoric and was most often seen in The Square in Christchurch synthesising the ideas of famous philosophers".

He is also renowned for his wizard's gown, casting various spells, including one to help the Crusaders rugby team, and trying to avoid being counted on Census night.

The Wizard said awards normally went to sportspeople or people who did good works.

"I am not a sportsman, I don't do good works. I am just an entertainer who tries to get new ideas across. So maybe someone who has got ideas has done it (nominated me) because I am really an ideas man."

Nevertheless, he was delighted.

"It's lovely to see an award given for someone who has lived essentially a life of putting as much fun as possible into the world and as much thought as possible.

"It's just nice to have someone recognise it because it's been rather the opposite lately."

In 2003 the Wizard's house burned down and he lost most of his possessions. His fiance Alice Flett's father died and an application for a plot in Christchurch's Square to mark where he delivered his discourse was knocked back.

The QSM might convince people he was not an evil person who cursed cows and their milk, he said.

"They can't now say that a man with a QSM is going to curse the cows and be an evil influence in the city, which has been going on for some time."

The QSM will also match the medal awarded to his fiance for her work in Australia's 1983 Ash Wednesday fires. Hers was a Distinguished Service Medal from the Red Cross, equivalent of the George Medal.

The QSM medal itself would be able to used in spells as the best spells worked from the top down and this one came from the Queen, he said.

He was a strong believer in a constitutional monarchy and it held the key to a lot of New Zealand's problems, he said.

"There's a malaise here, I think they don't know what they are any more. This is a problem of identity that is striking New Zealand. They are trying to find things like buzzy bees and lamingtons, it's not the way to do it.

"We have got a very strong identity and it's largely a form of British identity."

Playing down the legacy of the British Empire in history and schools "and to go for Kiwi this, Kiwi that is ridiculous, it's too shallow".


source: newshub archive