The Wizard looks to pass powers to apprentice
The Wizard of Christchurch is contemplating hanging up his robes for good, and passing his wand to an American successor.
Christchurch's long-lost Gothic icon has been in the United States during the past week, officiating events, staying with the New Zealand Ambassador and training his replacement.
"I have begun the process of passing on my powers to other wizards with whom I have been in contact recently," he said.
While coy on whether the prodigy in question would take up residence in Christchurch, the elusive sorcerer said he had been written to by "a fairly mature, ‘hillbilly-type', would-be wizard" from the Appalachians, a region in the eastern United States.
"He just said if I was going to retire, he'd like to take over," he said.
"I cannot possibly say whether he will want to be Wizard of Christchurch.
"The present connection is with Pennsylvania, but anything might happen."
The Wizard, born Ian Brackenbury Channell, even hinted there might be more than one successor.
While he noted "wizards don't generally retire", he said his future was "completely up in the air".
The eccentric Christchurch personality was invited and funded to go to Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, last week, where he officiated the Spring Dedication event at the school.
He blessed an authentic pavilion and the mayor of Bethlehem, and during his visit, stayed with the New Zealand Ambassador to the United States, Mike Moore.
Since the Canterbury earthquakes drove him from his familiar place in Cathedral Square and out of the central city, he has been frequenting the University of Canterbury, where he speaks informally on campus "sharing ideas with the young people".
He said the situation in Christchurch was a "spiritual disaster" and he was contemplating a move to Oamaru, among other places.
However, his allegiance to the city was not lost altogether.
"I promised I'd stay after the earthquakes, so I'm going to stay. I'll stay and fight for as long as I can," he said.
"I'm still loyal to Christchurch and I'm doing my damnedest to save the cathedral."