How many 89-year-olds start a new job? Well, the Wizard has been dumped by the CCC executive but has been reappointed to Kidd’s Cake shop.
The Wizard came to our wedding and cast a good spell. So far, it’s worked. So, I’m an advocate for his spells.
I asked Martin Meehan, one of the owners of Kidds Cakes, to write something about his decision to demonstrate that some City Council staff are a mean-spirited bunch of wowsers. I also hope that ChristchurchNZ read this article. There’s a message here challenging their beady eyed approach to publicity in this city.
The Value of a Wizard
A lot of people were surprised and disappointed at the council decision to dispense with the Wizards services. The cost savings were relatively small at $16k per year and the rationale behind the decision was less than convincing. It seems that the Wizard is a little bit yesterday but history and heritage always is isn’t it? He no longer fits the image of the new Christchurch where we pay big money for events that will hopefully, generate recognition for Christchurch around the world. These events are often part of a travelling circuit e.g. cricket, yacht racing or rugby 7s. Exciting at the time, but not original or unique to Christchurch and any coverage is usually concentrated on the event not the location.
If you compare the above with the value we get from our low budget 365 days a year Wizard, I suggest he represents incredible value. When news came out that he had been sacked, it was reported around the world. The story was carried in the Guardian, the Washington Post, CNN, New York Times and the BBC, I think to use a phrase beloved of promoters when hitting up council for funding, the Wizard, “ Showcased Christchurch to the world “
When I heard of the councils’ lack of vision, I sensed an opportunity to show my support for, and have some fun with the Wizard. I offered Jack the role of “Spiritual Advisor “to Kidd’s Cakes & Bakery. We organised a ceremony at the bakery at short notice which magically coincided with Jack’s 89th birthday. A cake was provided, a proclamation was read out, sparks flew, a smoke bomb ignited, and everyone cheered. It was corny, tongue in cheek and a lot of fun. The occasion was covered by “the Star” in print and online and TV1. That nightTV1 ran the story as the one bright spot in the news. Every other city in NZ would have been envious of the coverage that Christchurch got. The picture broadcast nationwide was of a city where fun and quirky things can happen. We even got comments online from around the world. The cost to Kidd’s Cakes is free coffee for life for the Wizard. Depending how much he can drink it could run close to his previous salary.
We are close to the opening of the new Convention Centre and the repairs to the old post office are well underway. This along with the library will bring new life to the square. We will be the only city that can offer a lunchtime wind up from a Wizard and living work of art to convention goers. I believe it is called a USP (unique selling Point) Why don’t Christchurch NZ, the body who are charged with promoting Christchurch promote the Wizard? I can understand that bringing new things to Christchurch is exciting, but it seems stupid to overlook an asset such as Jack, Wizard of Christchurch.
I offer as an example the Pied Piper of Hamelin. He did a great job for the town and then the town council reneged on the payment. In return the Pied Piper stole the children. Jack has assured me that this is not going to happen in this case. The point is, that the council, venal and penny pinching as they were, eventually put up a statue of the Pied Piper and the town has been living off it ever since. Smart move, even in mediaeval times they knew how to leverage an asset.
I would like to call on the City Council to reverse their decision regarding payment to the Wizard, It is based on short term not strategic thinking. The Wizard is a gift that can keep on giving. I know that councils don’t like to be seen to back down but if they had a magical awakening with the right media coverage, the image of Christchurch as a fun place, where things happen would go around the world. And as they say, it’s cheap as chips.
Kidds Cakes & Bakery