Mer­lin, Gan­dalf, Dum­ble­dore . . . and now Doug

Sunday Star-Times - - NEWS - Amy Baker

Doug Robert­son might look like he’s dressed for Halloween, but his pointy hat, robe and mag­i­cal staff are ac­tu­ally a year-round cos­tume – the 25-year-old is in wizard train­ing.

The mu­si­cian and per­former be­came an of­fi­cial ap­pren­tice six months ago to The Wizard of New Zealand, a well-known fig­ure in Christchurch since the 1970s, and has al­ready got used to kids call­ing out to him on the streets of the Auck­land sub­urb of Stone­fields as he strolls out in his mys­ti­cal garb.

‘‘A lot of the time they jump straight to com­par­ing me to Harry Pot­ter. But for the ones that are more in­quis­i­tive, I’m al­ways open for a chat on phi­los­o­phy or magic or any­thing like that.’’

At 25, Robert­son is the youngest of The Wizard’s six ap­pren­tices – and the only one in the North Is­land (four live in the South Is­land and one in Vir­ginia in the US).

The self-con­fessed ‘‘theatre nerd’’ has al­ways been fas­ci­nated by re­li­gion and mythol­ogy, and com­pleted a mu­sic de­gree be­fore fol­low­ing up a long-held in­ter­est in wiz­ardry.

There’s no set train­ing or read­ing. In­stead, wizards draw on con­cepts from many dis­ci­plines, in­clud­ing psy­chol­ogy and phi­los­o­phy.

In Novem­ber, Robert­son and The Wizard will be tak­ing to the streets of Auck­land with their own blend of mu­sic and magic.

It’s a first step for Robert­son on his jour­ney to be­com­ing a wizard and to­wards his am­bi­tion to also be­come a liv­ing work of art, like his men­tor.

But fun was still very much at the heart of wiz­ardry – some­thing hu­man yet ‘‘com­pletely off the wall’’, he said.


Ap­pren­tice wizard Doug Robert­son has all the kit: hat, robes and staff.

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