The world needs more wizards!


“The world needs more wizards” the Christchurch wizard told me recently.

The Wizard of Christchurch
The Wizard of Christchurch

Loved or hated, the wizard has been part of the fabric of the city for many years – I even had a friend who lived with him in Cranford St, was Uk-born, spent many years in Australia, and he washed up on the shores of New Zealand in 1974 and where he continued his performances and oratory which had begun over the Tasman Sea … or over-the-ditch as we kiwi call it. (Note:  it takes about 3-hours to cross that ‘ditch.’)

After a lifetime of events such as (Only a few, see more in his book, My Life as a Miracle)

  • Printing his own money
  • Arguing with the ‘bible lady’ in front of Christchurch Cathedral
  • Forming Alf’s Imperial Army
  • Declaring war on city fathers
  • Becoming  a tourist attraction the ‘the Square’
  • Experiments with ‘slavery for women’, and
  • Donating his body to the Gallery of Victoria
Pre quake New regent Street
Pre quake New Regent Street

He’s now a daytime resident in the fabulous New Regent Street (city centre – on the tram line too) where recently, over a coffee, hetold me ‘the world needs more wizards’.  As someone who does not understand wizardry, as the result of something The Wizard said,  I even had to Google the topic of wizards and Lord of the Rings and where I found that “in the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, the Wizards of Middle-earth are a group of beings outwardly resembling Men but possessing much greater physical and mental power and that Gandalf appears as a wizard of the order known as the Istari.

I knew Harry Potter was a wizard, but that’s the sum total if my knowledge! Not much good to me when I talk with a flesh and blood wizard.

New Regent Street survived  the quake!
New Regent Street survived the quake!

In Christchurch the latest work of The Wizard is to “keep the people of Christchurch informed of the TRUE situation concerning the future of OUR city’s icon, which is also a major tourist attraction.” Copied from his brochure which pleads to restore the cathedral ‘our city’s heart and soul.’

The land for the Cathedral was gifted in 1855 by the Provincial Council; building was begun in 1873 and opened in 1881. Over the years the council, and the people of Christchurch, (most of who are not Anglicans) have supported the maintenance of the building and I too support the rebuild of this Category 1 Heritage Building.

Our broken Cathedral
Our broken Cathedral

Christchurch has lots to offer

On one of my regular trips to Christchurch last week – using my preferred rental car company New Zealand Rent a Car – it was good to see even more progress in the city.

Every time I’m there I’m happy to see the cordon has been reduced and the the city full of people.

One of the exciting new developments is to see New Regent Street is on the verge of re-opening. This pleases me as this historic will be the first shopping precinct to RE-OPEN in the city centre.

Existing Businesses Reopening ( So, welcome home to you all)

Moko Cafe

Young’s Jewellers

Cafe Stir

Coffee Lovers

Hot Damn! Lingerie

NEW Businesses to the Street ( Welcome to the city centre)

Beadz Unlimited (relocating from the quake damaged Arts Centre)

The Last Word

Prestige Fudge

MC for Nails

Polished Diamonds

Mrs Higgins Cookies

Caffeine Laboratory

Hairdresser (not yet named)  

My next blog will be about New Regent Street in detail but wanted to give all locals and travellers a "heads up" about this exciting news. This is me checking out the progress!




The owner of Beadz Unlimited discusses the signs for her double width shop

While  in Christchurch I recommend you use this online map  – What’s Open provides the most comprehensive guide to What’s Open in Christchurch, NZ. Very handy!

Accommodation, coffee and fun in Christchurch

Since the quake in September 2010, many travellers are wondering what’s happening in the garden city so here are some ideas for accommodation, coffee and fun in the city of my birth!

The Chateau on the Park

Set opposite Hagley Park it’s only a 20-minute stroll through it to the museum or city centre – or heading west, to Christchurch’s largest indoor mall. If you fancy burning some calories jump in the heated swimming, have a round golf over the road at the Hagley Golf Course or grab a bike from the office.  Of course there’s a bar and restaurant too!


Budget accommodation at its best: the perfect central city site next to the Arts Centre and Botanic Gardens. Whether you want a bunk bed in a dormitory or a deluxe room with an en-suite or even an apartment, all are of a high standard. Solo travellers, sports or tour group, the Y is where you can all hang-out and enjoy this exceptional place.

An unusual day in Christchurch: snow!

The Classic Villa

Five stars and eco-friendly this beautiful villa has lived many lives! From the home of an early minister of religion through to an old-folks home, its current reincarnation is superb. Top class, yet very friendly, laid-back and comfortable with the host serving you a sumptuous Mediterranean breakfast. Step outside and you are in the centre of Christchurch’s cultural precinct.

Willowbank Wildlife Reserve

Just the place for a picnic with the kids! The real bonus is seeing nocturnal kiwi – one of the world’s strange creatures – and here they’re not behind glass! Just a wire fence separates you from our national icon. Native birds and introduced animals live side by side, often walking free and some can be touched or fed. Great fun for families and nature-lovers.

Botanic Gardens

Stop off for a coffee - in the Kiosk!

Who would have thought these gardens started with an oak in 1863 and was surrounded by swamp. Locals and visitors mix just like the plants – natives and exotics from all over the world – enjoying this peaceful place in the middle of the city. During the 2010 quake it was a place of refuge too. It’s ideal for bird watching, punting, relaxing or just a coffee.

Addington Coffee Co-op

Love funky places and coffee? Check out this old mechanics workshop where a coffee roasting machine spreads the aroma of roasting coffee as you eat muffins, cupcakes or meals, while drinking coffee (or tea and hot chocolate).  Free wireless internet is a great incentive to do some work, or blog, Facebook and email friends while hanging in the cafe.


When we want to eat contemporary New Zealand cuisine with an Italian twist this chic, upmarket place is where many locals go. With a changing menu for the seasons it’s always interesting to see what’s new.  More ‘fine dining’ in the evening in the evening and casual during the day – brunch is what we locals love. We also love the local wines.


A favourite place for decadent breakfasts! Drexels introduced Christchurch to eating out for breakfast over 25-years ago. Some of us always order the same dish, while others still dither over ‘sweet or savoury?’ Their building and area were quake victims but Drexels has moved and re-opened much to our relief. You need to book for special days.

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