Courtesy Pakuranga Times :
Matthew Winnard believes he has the necessary skills to become not just an entertainer, but a leader. The Pakuranga magician has been voted by his peers as the new president of the Shore City Magicians Club, taking over from professional performer Mick Peck.
Based on the North Shore, the club was formed in 1974 and is one of largest of its kind, with a membership roll of 30-40 magicians.
“I’ve been the club’s president for more than ten years and decided it was time I ought to step aside,” says Mr Peck. “Matthew has been in the club for about eight years. He’s a very keen magician and he’s won national under-18 magic awards at different conventions. I think he’s the right person to lead the club.”
Mr Winnard is studying computer science at the University of Auckland. He became interested in magic as a child and specialises in close-up magic using props such as a deck of cards and coins.
“I’m well-known among fellow magicians for my card work,” says the 21-year-old. “When I was about five I was at a friend’s birthday party and there was a magician there, which piqued my interest. I began researching magic online and bringing over props and instructional guides from overseas when I was about fourteen. I used to practise a lot more than I do now. I’m more focused on getting my final semester at university out of the way, but magic definitely takes a lot of work.”
Mr Peck, 31, says the club’s new president has a big job ahead of him.
“The role of the president is to oversee the whole club,” he says. “He has to set the direction in terms of magic shows and bringing overseas performers here. The president is also a role model for younger magicians to look up to.”
Mr Winnard says it takes a lot more than being able to perform a card trick to make it as a magician.
“The nice thing about magic is you’re able to bring a smile to people’s faces, which is a good thing to do,” he says. “It’s incredibly important to engage with your audience. If you’re not doing that, you’re only doing it for yourself.”
Mr Peck adds that magic is a good way for young people to learn helpful social skills and become more outgoing.
“It helps with self-confidence,” he says. “For many years the world of magic was basically a closed shop, then our club came along in the 1970s. It’s definitely had a positive impact on magic in New Zealand.”