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The Wizard of New Zealand

The Wizard of New Zealand is also the Archwizard of Canterbury, a "living work of art" at the National Gallery of Victoria and the Robert MacDougall Art Gallery, and "Cosmologer" at the University of Melbourne. Also the founder of the Imperial British Conservative Party.

Born in 1932 in London, England as Ian Brackenbury Channell, he was appointed Wizard of the University of New South Wales by the Vice Chancellor and Students' Union in 1969.

His maiden speech in Cathedral Square in Christchurch, New Zealand on September 17, 1974 was greeted with derision and eggs, later ones by objections from the City Council, but after many battles with bureaucracy he is now an institution and tourist attraction.

One of his pet peeves is filling out census forms, which he has tried to escape by such means as travelling off-shore in a small boat or by "magically disappearing" at the time of the census. He also claims that the traditional world views are incorrect, proposing the Upside-Down World, with Antartica and South at the top of the map, and the Inside-Out Universe, which inverts all dimensions and measurements.

On October 6, 1990 he was proclaimed Wizard of New Zealand by the then Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mike Moore. He has also been known as The Wizard of Christchurch or simply The Wizard.

On September 8, 2003 the Wizard's large wooden house was destoyed by a fire which Christchurch police are treating as arson. The Wizard, his partner and two boarders were lucky to escape with their lives, and the wizard's extensive book and video collections were destroyed. The Wizardmobile, constructed from the front halves of two VW Beetles, was also attacked and damaged.

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