'It's not me' - Wizard can't magic away mystery debt

By Ben Guild, Hamish McNeilly

The Wizard of New Zealand back at his spot of 36 years in front of the quake damaged Christchurch Cathedral. Photo / David Alexander
The Wizard of New Zealand back at his spot of 36 years in front of the quake damaged Christchurch Cathedral. Photo / David Alexander

It is a credit card debt that will not vanish, and the Wizard wants answers.

The Wizard of New Zealand, aka Ian Brackenbury Channell, was contacted by a debt collection agency last week after someone had used his name illegally.

"The name on all my documents is the Wizard, and it was that name that was taken and used,'' he said.

"I had the debt collectors on the line saying is it you, and I said it is not me.''

The Wizard did not know how much the debt was for or what they bought, but confirmed it involved an American Express credit card and it "was an Auckland thing''.

He used the name Wizard on all his documents, including passport and drivers licence.

"I didn't do it by illegal [methods]; I did it by artistic techniques. I try and avoid any legal or Governmental organisation if I can so I am operating differently.

"If I am required I will certainly do [a spell], but the Police don't need my help.

"I did do a spell once to get my car back, but I haven't used a spell to do with a crime for sometime.''

The Wizard, who moved to Christchurch from Australia in 1974 before leaving the Garden City for Oamaru, said he enjoyed living in the functioning Victorian town.

He still returned to the quake ravaged city, but there was no obvious centre for him to perform, and he said "shopping malls and I do not get on at all well''.

A police spokesman said the debt collection agency had yet to be in contact, and the Wizard preferred not to make additional comment until the police investigation had advanced further.

The episode showed how easily credit cards details could be used through illegal means, and the Wizard's predicament was a timely reminder for people to keep their details secure, he said.

- Otago Daily Times

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