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The International Brotherhood of Magicians

08 Jan

Alan Watson Receives High Honor for Magic Contributions

Category: News   Posted by: C. DENNIS SCHICK

 Our Editor receives a very great honor.

Usually a few days prior to the deadline for my weekly contribution to Magic New Zealand I am busy scratching my head and trying to find a topic that I consider relevant and that will be of interest to our incredibly international readership. My first column of 2015 was an unbelievably easy choice and it is with enormous pride and satisfaction that I get to write it.

Alan Watson has been recognized in the 2015 New Zealand New Year's Honours list by Queen Elizabeth II and is to be awarded The Queen's Service Medal (QSM). This is a truly unique honor to be bestowed on a magician. The award will be presented by the Governor-General of New Zealand, Lieutenant-General The Right Honorable Sir Jerry Mateparae GNZM, QSO, on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, at an investiture in May.

This highly prestigious award was presented to Alan for his services to the magical arts, which makes it not only a wonderful tribute to Alan but also a powerful boost to the recognition of our art form in general. To my knowledge this is the only Royal award of its kind that has been presented to a magician for his life work.

           "I was really thrilled for the magicians in New Zealand because it meant our art form was being recognized with a royal honor," Watson said of his surprise award. He says he has no idea who nominated him for the award and wondered at the detail in the biographical note issued by Government House. "I was astounded, where did they get all this information from?"

           The letter Alan received from New Zealand's Prime Minister The Right Honorable John Key went on to elaborate on the reason for the award by stating; "Our success as a nation relies on citizens from all walks of life stepping forward, helping others, seeking new ways of doing things, and reaching for their dreams. You have made an outstanding contribution to that success, and enriched the lives of us all." Everyone who knows Watson will appreciate the resonance these words have, when applied to Alan.

  As you may imagine a great deal of consideration and research goes into the decision of presenting an award such as the Queen's Service Medal. When you read the elements that went into the choice of Watson to be granted this honor, it is an impressive list. Let me mention just a few of the awards that have been presented to Alan.

In 2010 Watson received The International Presidential Citation from The Society of American Magicians. In 2006 he was the recipient of the New Zealand Variety Artists Club Benny Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2006 he received Grand Master of Magic Award, Supreme Award. 2005 also saw Watson presented with The International Brotherhood of Magicians, Presidential Citation. In 2002 Watson received the prestigious J Marberger Stuart Foundation, DRAGON Award (jointly with his wife Michele).

           However, it isn't the awards that make Alan Watson such a great addition to the magic community, it is his actions that have been the reasons for receiving these accolades. He has promoted magic tirelessly and selflessly his entire life, and raised New Zealand's profile enormously in international circles across the globe. In the last ten years he has arranged $70,000 of sponsorship for young magicians to attend conventions and lectures in New Zealand and Australia. Not just a proud member of the magic world Alan is a proud 'Kiwi,' and never prouder than when he can combine these two loves in this sort of manner.

It has been my privilege to work on Magic New Zealand with Alan for the past seven years, and I am always amazed at the endless energy and enthusiasm that he dedicates to this wonderful and totally free magical resource. Money is not the motivation for Magic New Zealand or any of Watson's magical projects -- he makes a very fine living as a magical performer! The reason that Alan shines as such a bright star in the magic world is his sheer love of our art form.

I take this opportunity to congratulate Watson on this wonderful recognition for his contributions to magic over the years. Those of us who are lucky enough to know Alan didn't need any special awards to appreciate his singular achievements. However, the fact that half a world away in Buckingham Palace this was noted and rewarded by Queen Elizabeth, is something very, very special. 

Congratulations my Kiwi brother.


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Nick Lewin

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