Get Adobe Flash player

Wi-Fi Guy & The Wizard: No Haka For You My Friend; Social Media Type Speaks Out In Aoterroa

June 6th, 2011 · Tags:Cities · Satire · Sports · Wi-Fi

NZ Wiz

NZ Wiz

I had a good chat with a travel writer on Facebook the other day, and she commented that I must meet some interesting people. Well yes I do … but I should point out that she covers all of the backroads of The Texas Plains Trail … I bet she has some keepers too. Anywho …

During recent travel in New Zealand, i did a non-touristy thing and attended a town hall meeting with thousands of people from Christchurch. They were coming together to hear the city’s ideas for rebuilding after their most recent earthquake. What better place to meet authentic, everyday Kiwis … I thought.

Then, over by the YouTube booth where people were uploading their ideas for the city (I did that too), I saw this group of people circling around an old guy dressed in all black (yes I know that is the name of the rugby team, but it is not a pun here) … I digress … Did i mention he had gray hair down to his shoulders and a beard that might have been older than me? Oh … he was sporting a walking staff of some twisted hardwood and a really sweet, black, pointy hat.

Let’s see … this is New Zealand. My hotel lobby is covered in brochures featuring the “Lord of the Rings” countryside tours … My final answer was … “I bet this guy has something to do with LOTR.”

Close, but no hobbit.



Allow me to introduce you to The Official Wizard of New Zealand. He is real. He is respected. He is treated like a true celebrity wherever he goes. But he’s not just a novelty or spectacle like Thong Man in Austin … people really value him and cherish the wisdom he doth impart. I’m serious. They say he was a fixture on the steps of the beautiful, famous and now crumbled Christchurch Cathedral … Well, since the earthquake tolled for the bell tower of the cathedral, I guess the Wiz has to take his show on the road.

By chance, I spotted him and you can bet your hairy little feet that I pulled him over to chat.

Well … as that Primus song about megalomania says, “You’re no Elvis,” but then he is The Wizard, he doesn’t care to be Elvis, now does he? He’s more like a ninja armed only with heady thought and pithy comments … or maybe the James Bond of eccentricity … Ha! Even I liked that one … I thought of James Bond, because when I asked The Mr. Wizard what it was like to ride out the most recent Christhchurch earthquake, he said it was like being “shaken and not stirred” … well something like that, as the accompanying video reveals.

And it scared me a little, but I found out I have something in common with The Wizard (no, not the same stylist) … we are both fans of an old castle-like restaurant in the hills just outside Christchurch … a place called Sign of the Takahe. (I think takahe is a bird … there is also a location called Sign of the Kiwi …) Here’s something from the PingWF blog about The S of the T from our first excursion in Kiwiland:

Previous Kiwi Wi-Fi Pings

So about this Wiz … He has been doing the Wiz gig since 1969. He points out in our interview that his fiancee has been supporting him since shortly thereafter, circa 1971. So, I guess he wizzed freelance for a bit … before finding sponsorship. (This blog can relate …)

In all seriousness … or as serious as one can be in discussing a modern-day wizard, check out my new friend at his Web site. He is admittedly a “living work of art” — a phrase someone else hung on him … and as his site proclaims, “So far he has avoided being arrested or given psychotherapy and is still working on his synthetic cosmology whilst keeping the people of NZ entertained.” Gotta love a man who throws down a “whilst” or two on his site …

See The Wizard

He is a former choirboy. And, he was a scout leader in Kent. (Anyone know that lyric from “Werewolves of London” “that hairy-handed gent, who ran amuck in Kent …”? Yes, I digress … although howling with LOL.)

He has a friggin medal from The Queen … oops … sorry Your Majesty.

He is a kindly old wise, gentlemanly sort, who just happens to wear a black robe, a silver cross and carries a big stick.

I don’t know what kind of juju that stick wields, but I am sure he has battled his own dragons in his day … so to speak. Great guy.

Sense of humor? I think so … but speaking of juju … I asked him if he would get into it a bit and take one for the team. You see, the NZ rugby team — The All Blacks — was preparing to host the World Cup of Rugby in the coming weeks after my stay. Couple that with the Kiwis had just hosted a country-wide “haka” to speed the recovery process as the community rebuilds from two major earthquakes in less than 12 months. Oh … a haka, as previously mentioned in this blog, is a dance or sometimes a war dance/chant thing common in the traditional Maorian culture in New Zealand. So … mixing all of these ideas, logically (in my mind) I asked The Wizard of New Zealand to do a haka for The All Blacks. He was not amused, but was a good sport.

Ping Uploads Ideas on Christchurch Facebook

Ping Uploads Ideas on Christchurch Facebook

(This amused me … spell check wants to change “haka” … and repeatedly does … to “aka” … hmmm … maybe I will change “a.k.a. The Wi-Fi Guy” on my e-mail signature to “Haka The Wi-Fi Guy” … I digress.)

His answer? Watch the video, mate — shot on-location in “Aoterroa” … a.k.a. New Zealand.

Know what I saying?