WTF Fun Fact 12988 – New Zealand’s Wizard

All good things must come to an end – and, apparently, that goes for wizardry as well. In 2021, New Zealand’s wizard didn’t have his contract renewed.

The official Wizard of New Zealand

For 23 years, the city of Christchurch footed the bill to pay Ian Brackenbury Channell (now age 89) to promote the city through “acts of wizardry and other wizard-like services.” At $16,000 a year, Channell was paid a total of $368,000.

According to The Guardian (cited below), it all began when “[t]he Wizard, who was born in England, began performing acts of wizardry and entertainment in public spaces shortly after arriving in New Zealand in 1976.”

No one had asked for a wizard, so the council tried to make him stop. But the public was smitten with him.

“In 1982, the New Zealand Art Gallery Directors Association said he had become a living work of art, and then, in 1990, the prime minister at the time, Mike Moore, asked that he consider becoming the Wizard of New Zealand.”

Christchurch’s wizarding era

Moore wrote to Channell:

‘I am concerned that your wizardry is not at the disposal of the entire nation. I suggest therefore that you should urgently consider my suggestion that you become the Wizard of New Zealand, Antarctica and relevant offshore areas … no doubt there will be implications in the area of spells, blessings, curses, and other supernatural matters that are beyond the competence of mere Prime Ministers.”

He’s appeared at official functions, performed rain dances, and then got himself in a bit of trouble…

New Zealand’s wizard loses his magic

After making comments about “devious” women and trying to joke about beating them, the council thanked him for his years of service and terminated his contract with the city.

The Wizard himself believes it’s all because bureaucrats are boring and don’t want to take his suggestions on improving tourism.

The Wizard is still around, but he’s not being paid by the city anymore. Instead, he’s running for mayor in 2022.  WTF fun facts

Source: “New Zealand council ends contract with wizard after two decades of service” — The Guardian

WTF Fun Fact 12979 – The Longest Name in New Zealand

New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs’ (DIA) sets a 100-character limit when it comes to people’s names. But that doesn’t fully explain the longest name in New Zealand, which belongs to a man named Full Metal Havok More Sexy N Intelligent Than Spock And All The Superheroes Combined With Frostnova.

How did he get the longest name in New Zealand?

The man wasn’t born with this name. In fact, he lost a bet five years earlier.

According to the NZ Herald (cited below), “A message on an online body building forum, written by someone describing themselves as a friend of the man, said the name change was the result of a lost poker bet and the man realized his drunken consequences only when his passport expired.”

Making it official

Apparently not one to backtrack on a bet, Mr. Frostnova registered his name change in 2010, which was confirmed by DIA Births Deaths and Marriages spokesman Michael Mead. It does sound like he was a bit too inebriated after the poker match he lost to remember precisely what he did, however. It was only when he applied for a new passport that he realized the name had been accepted and was now legal (though he was welcome to change it).

“The name met the requirements of naming rules and the applicant paid the fee and completed the form correctly, he said. Mr Frostnova could change his name again any time by completing the form correctly and paying the $127 fee, Mr Mead said. The process takes around eight days.”

There was no reason for the government to try to stop him since the DIA says names are only rejected in cases where they might “cause offense to a reasonable person, are unreasonably long, or without adequate justification include or resemble an official title or rank.”

However, in 2008, a Family Court Judge named Rob Murfitt did take issue with the name of a child and “publicly criticized some parents’ choice of names after he ordered that a girl named Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii be taken into court custody so she could change her name.”

In New Zealand, names can not include numbers or symbols. Therefore, some “rejected names in recent years include Majesty, King, Knight, Princess, Justice, Anal, V8, 89, Mafia No Fear, Lucifer, full stop and *.”  WTF fun facts

Source: “Dunedin man’s 99-character name” — New Zealand Herald

WTF Fun Fact 12726 – New Zealanders Eat The Most Ice Cream

If you thought Americans were the biggest ice cream eaters in the world (or maybe Italians with their gelato), think again. New Zealanders come in first, consuming an average of 7.5 gallons of ice cream per year. Americans eat about 4.4 gallons, so while they come in second, they’re pretty far behind.

New Zealand is known for its epic dairy products, and they have a highly competitive ice cream industry.

The two main ingredients, milk and sugar became readily available in New Zealand in the 1800s. Sugar was readily imported from Australia, and Durham dairy cows were introduced in 1814, followed by Jerseys, Friesians, and Ayrshires in the 1860s and 70s, once people realized the grazing land was ideal.

But what about the ice? That’s also integral in making ice cream.

Interestingly, New Zealand’s ice originally came from the US Great Lakes area. International ice sale was big business in the 1940s, and Great Lakes ice was shipped around the world on large ships. Giant cubes were stacked together and insulated by wood shavings. Melting did occur, but the giant cubes managed to make it to New Zealand!

Upon arrival, the ice was stored in insulated ice houses.

However, it was ice from Massachusetts’ Wenham Lake that went into making New Zealand’s first ice cream. It was harvested by the Wenham Lake Ice Company, founded by “Ice King” Frederic Tudor, and the “Wenham Ice” is mentioned in New Zealand’s earliest ice cream ads. – WTF Fun Facts

Source: “The New Zealand Ice Cream Industry” — New Zealand Ice Cream Manufacturers Association

WTF Fun Fact – Peaches And Bunter Reunited

WTF Fun Fact - Peaches And Bunter Reunited

In January 2020, Peaches the therapy goat was returned to her owners and depressed companion Bunter the cow after being stolen in December from the Maungaturoto Hotel in New Zealand. – WTF Fun Facts


WTF Fun Fact – Boiled Lobster?

WTF Fun Fact - Boiled Lobster

New Zealand, Austria, Norway, and Switzerland have banned the practice of boiling lobsters alive. – WTF Fun Facts


WTF Fun Fact – Orcs Or Fans

WTF Fun Fact - Orc Army Cricket Fans

The chants of the orc army in The Lord Of The Rings movie were produced by a stadium filled with more than 25,000 New Zealand cricket fans. – WTF Fun Facts