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Best magic moment of all of them

• Howick and Pakuranga Times

MAGICIAN Richard Webster may be a master at reading people’s minds, but he got the shock of his life to discover his friends had been hiding a major secret.

HONOURED: Richard Webster, with Ronnie the Rabbit, has received a major accolade marking his decades as a magician. Times photo Wayne Martin.

The Dannemora resident was speaking at a recent gathering when he was interrupted and told he was being named New Zealand’s 17th Grand Master of Magic.

He received the accolade at a ceremony at Riverina School, Pakuranga, on February 4.

“It was the biggest surprise of my life,” Mr Webster told the Times.

“No one gave me the slightest inkling something was happening, but I suppose magicians are supposed to be good at keeping their secrets.

“I actually stopped performing magic about 12 years ago, so I was totally stunned. I couldn’t be happier.”

Mr Webster was presented a medallion marking his induction into the elite grand masters club by Brotherhood of Auckland Magicians president Alan Watson.

Mick Peck, president of the Shore City Magicians Club, presented flowers to Mr Webster’s wife Margaret in recognition of her contribution to her husband’s achievements.

Mr Webster’s career has seen him perform card magic and mind reading tricks in New Zealand, Australia, the United States, United Kingdom and Europe.

Since slowing down as a public performer, he’s turned his hand to writing, having now authored 110 books, with 70 of them in the mind, body and spirit genre and the rest about magic.

His faithful sidekick at many appearances was the hand puppet Ronnie the Rabbit.

“When a magic show goes well, it’s the greatest feeling in the world,” says Mr Webster.

“The ones I remember are the children’s parties. When children like you it’s like being a superhero.

“It’s a fantastic feeling.”

Among Mr Webster’s previous accolades are receiving in 2008 a lifetime achievement award at the 29th NZ Magicians Convention in Auckland.

The former president of the Brotherhood of Auckland Magicians knew what he wanted to do for a living when attending a friend’s birthday party at age eight.

“I was captivated by a magician and amazed at how he could pull pennies out of a person’s ear.”

Mr Webster didn’t let the fact he was too young to join the NZ Society of Magicians get in his way, devouring books on tricks.

The patron of the Shore City Magic Club says the hardest thing over the years was being booked for enough shows to keep paying the bills.

“Generating work on a continual basis can be tough,” he says.

“I’ve been able to bring up three children and pay a mortgage on it, but there are ups and downs.

“My main motivation was for the audience to have a good time.

“I don’t think anyone ever thought I’d make a career out of magic. My mother always asked ‘when are you going to get a real job?’ It’s so unlikely.”

Mr Watson says the Grand Master of Magic award is handed out rarely and only in recognition of “supreme excellence” for New Zealand magicians since its founding in 1969.

“It’s referred to all past grand masters for their say and it takes six months to go through,” he says.

“Richard certainly deserves it. When I presented it to him, he got a standing ovation.

“Everybody was so thrilled and it just went on and on.”





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