A Kiwi resident in central Christchurch enjoys a hefty $10,000 (£ 8,000) yearly salary for being the city's official beloved local wizard. Ian Brackenbury Channell, now aged 87, is locally funded by the Christchurch City Council for his unique identity and talent in "wizardry."
Channell was born in the United Kingdom and in his younger years enjoyed many adventures. He backpacked all over Europe, became a Royal Air Force Officer in Canada and found a career in teaching English at the University of Tehran. He met his wife in Australia where he was also working as a community arts organiser for the University of Western Australia in Perth. He was also juggling work as a teaching fellow in sociology at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney.
It was at this point where his "fun revolution" took off. He was intent on bringing love, logic and levity to the world by transforming the university into a "theatre of the absurd." Unfortunately, this was not something the university was keen on upholding. Channell lost his job but that did not stop his visions. He devised a plan with the vice chancellor that would provide him a new position at the university as its official "wizard."
However, not everyone welcomed his new job and identity. He lost all his friends alongside his wife who eventually left him. This is where he said he turned those times he got thrown out of the house into a ritual that involved inviting friends to share in his moment and come over.
"To me it was fun, but not to her. She's still furious." he said.
He decided to move to Christchurch, New Zealand in 1974 where his wizard life was wholly accepted. The city was the perfect "romantic dream" with its beautiful and quiet atmosphere that was unlikely to be spoiled by economic development. He had become a mainstay fixture in the Cathedral Square where people could easily spot him on a ladder dressed in a plethora of outfits while loudly expressing his thoughts on a number of issues.
The council was not too happy about his presence at first. They refused to grant him the written permission for him to voice his musings in the square and so he came up with silly games just to get around the bylaws and rules.
His profile eventually rose and he was able to achieve more official recognition and validation on his identity. It was in 1990, when then New Zealand Prime Minister Mike Moore wrote him an official prime ministerial letter suggesting that he should "urgently consider my suggestion that you become the Wizard of New Zealand, Antarctica and relevant offshore areas."
This paved the road for him and turned things around as Christchurch City Council contracted him to "provide acts of wizardry and other wizard-like-services as part of promotional work for the city of Christchurch."
According to his story featured on CNN, the wizard doesn't pay tax, He also enjoys the financial support of his fiancee of 43 years whom he met at an Anglican church and proposed to her during a public performance.