Professor Alexander William Bickerton has been described as "a strange compound of showman, saint, genius and crank."
He was the first professor of Canterbury College (now the University of Canterbury) and is the only person whose remains are known to be interred in the walls of the Great Hall at The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora.
An inspirational teacher of chemistry, Professor Bickerton taught and collaborated with Ernest, Lord Rutherford. He established Wainoni Park with its many attractions for the citizenry: these ranged from a zoo to fireworks displays. His academic tenure was not trouble-free, and his views were controversial.
Bickerton's life and contributions to Christchurch have always intrigued the Wizard, another local icon and former academic with a commitment to revitalising the community using innovative techniques. At this free event, the Wizard will present an illustrated talk about the fascinating professor who may also have been a wizard. There will be time for questions and discussion.
This event is supported by the Christchurch City Council as part of the Heritage Festival.