Arthur Nelson Field
Arthur Nelson Field (1882-1963), also known as A. N. Field, was a patriot and dissident writer from New Zealand.
Born in Nelson he was the first son of four children born to Tom Field and Jessica Black. Tom Field was managing director of Wilkins and Field Hardware in his native city, which his father had founded, and went on to serve as a Nelson City Councillor and Reform Party Member of Parliament for the local electorate from 1914 to 1919.
Arthur took up journalism and worked as a reporter for the The Evening Post, Taranaki Herald, Poverty Bay Herald and Melbourne Argus (1901-1907), before returning to Nelson in 1907. He served as a Wellington Dominion columnist for the next 21 years (1907-1928). There was a break during this period when he served as a Royal Navy sub-lieutenant and adjutant at Portsmouth, and on board RNV Spenser in the North Sea. He returned to New Zealand when discharged in 1914.
Career and Associations
While working as a journalist and serving in the navy, Field became involved in right wing politics. In 1909 he published The Citizen, an early publication which upheld motherhood, eugenics and monetary reform, and opposed "Maori Obstructionism" for seven years, 1912-1919. After that period, he also became involved with "The Britons", a group that specialised in publishing New Zealand editions of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion: he himself published a New Zealand edition. During the Second World War, he was kept under surveillance by the Security Intelligence Bureau of New Zealand's Department of External Affairs.
Marcus van Rooij wrote a paper on A.N. Field's influence on Australian neofascism, suggesting his conspiracy theory discourse impacted on other such Australian organisations during the Depression era. In particular, The Truth About the Slump (1931, 1932) enjoyed widespread circulation and stimulated the interest of organisations such as the Guild of Watchmen of Australia, the Australian Catholic Truth Society, the League of Truth, the British Australian Racial Body, and Evangelical Publishing Company of New South Wales. Australian patriotess Patricia Lewin cited Truth About the Slump in her tract, The Key (1933), as did numerous other Australian Social Credit and Douglas Credit Party figures that based their work on the monetary theories of C.H. Douglas. Rooij designated him the "Kiwi theoretician of the Australian Radical Right."
Despite the recognition of his work in Australia and the United States, and the circulation of his books within those countries, Field preferred to work from his isolated Nelson homestead.
In his later years, Field wrote a series of self-published tracts on his interpretations of economics, anti-socialist articles about the New Zealand Labour Party and trade union movement, and related matters. Some were republished in the United States in the early 1960s. Field died aged 81 in a private hospital in Nelson.
His collected tracts and monographs were later deposited in the Alexander Turnbull Library of the National Library of New Zealand in 1968.
- A.N. Field: Wanted: Accurate Data about Human Heredity: Timaru: Timaru Post Publishing: 1911.
- A.N. Field: Medical Marriage Certificates: London: Eugenic Education Society: 1912.
- A.N. Field: The Defence Department's Failure: Wellington: Wellington Publishing Company: 1915.
- A.N. Field: The Truth about the Slump: Nelson: A.N. Field: 1931, 1932.
- A.N. Field: The Stabilisation of Money: Nelson: A.N. Field: 1934.
- A.N. Field: The World’s Conundrum (new edition of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion with an introduction by Field): Nelson: A.N. Field: 1934.
- A.N. Field: The Untaught History of Money: Nelson: A.N. Field: 1938.
- A.N. Field: All These Things: Nelson: A.N. Field: 1936. 288 pages
- A.N. Field: Socialism Unmasked: Nelson: A.N. Field: 1938.
- A.N. Field: The Bretton Woods Plot: Nelson: A.N. Field: 1957.
- A.N. Field: All These Things: Hawthorne, California: Omni Publishing: 1963.
- A.N. Field: The Truth About New Zealand: Bullsbrook: Veritas: 1987: ISBN 0-947117-40-7.
- Marcus La Rooij: "Arthur Nelson Field: Kiwi Theoretician of the Australian Radical Right?" Labour History 89 (November 2005): 37-54.
- New Zealand Department of External Affairs Archives: Report on Arthur Nelson Field by Security Intelligence Bureau: 15 December 1943: EA1, 84/10/1, Part 1, National Archives.
- Paul Spoonley: The Politics of Nostalgia: The Extreme Right in New Zealand: Dunmore Press: Palmerston North: 1987.
- Paul Spoonley: "Field, Arthur Nelson: 1882-1963)": Dictionary of New Zealand Biography(2006):