The Wizard of New Zealand QSM, also known as The Archwizard of Canterbury, or simply as The Wizard, is one of few folks who can lay claim to being a living work of art.
We meet at the Arts Centre on an overcast, slightly cool day, outside a café built into the first floor of the old Boys High lecture theatre. Trams pull up behind us every fifteen minutes trucking in throngs of gleeful tourists, and the whole scene is framed by Gothic Revival buildings. For the next hour or so, I feel like I’m part of a pre-quake Christchurch NZ postcard or fridge magnet.
I find The Wizard speaking to a woman so engrossed in what he’s saying that she is distracted from finishing her sandwich. I sit at a nearby table to wait, but he soon sees me out of the corner of his eye. ‘Ah, there he is!’ he exclaims, grinning at me like the cat from Alice in Wonderland, ‘the young journalist who’s going to write a scathing hit-piece about me!’
As if freed from some hypnotic trance, the sandwich woman offers me her seat and drifts away, possibly wondering where the time went. I shake The Wizard’s hand and sit down. Bypassing introductions, he picks up his lecture from where his previous captive ear left, which is about his feelings towards the city council taking over management of the ChristChurch Cathedral from the Anglican Church some years ago. Gradually, the monologue evolves into conversation as other topics come up.