The Iconic: The Wizard
How did we go this long with a column called The Iconic without featuring the country’s Arch-Wizard? Move over, Gandalf; the Wizard who’s really most indelibly associated with New Zealand is undeniably a Christchurch icon – as much an integral part of the fabric of the city as Hagley Park and asking people what school they went to. The magic man who’s been classified repeatedly as a ‘living work of art’ has been a feature of the central city since 1974 with his entertaining, lively and outrageous public speaking, efficacious spell-casting, officiating, battles with bureaucracy and soulless corporations, Imperial-Army-marshalling, philosophising and heritage advocacy.
That he nearly decamped permanently to Oamaru post-quakes would have been a loss nearly as grievous as that of any historic building, and it does the heart good that you can still spot him up to his mysterious, wizardly business during lunchtimes in New Regent Street, or occasionally bringing some magic to kids in the Margaret Mahy Playground.
Look out too for his apprentice wizards-in-training (you can move over too, Harry Potter), set to carry on a wizarding tradition that’s been muscled into existence by the sheer force of personality of the much-loved magician.