Stuart William McMillan MBE: 7 March 1933-24 October 2019.
Born in Dunedin, in a family with a strong non-conformist tradition, Stuart was educated at High Street School and Otago Boys' High School. He attended Otago University from 1953 to 1956, graduating with a BA; during his student days he was involved in producing the Revue magazine. He was also obliged to do compulsory military training.
In 1959 Stuart joined the Christchurch Press, beginning a 38-year career with the paper which, for many years, included the difficult task of leader writing. His colleagues respected his abilities and qualities: 'his tact and kindness were unfailing', one recalls. He was a rare breed among this country's journalists, one who focused on the wider world and New Zealand's role in it at a time when it was not easy to find informed comment by New Zealanders on such topics. Former NZIIA director Brian Lynch paid tribute in his eulogy at Stuart's memorial service: 'Stuart was a patriot in the purest meaning of the term. He had a deeply felt and unwavering sense of this country's identity and its destiny.' Characterised by meticulous research, astute analysis and measured exposition, his corpus of work has lasting value for scholars of New Zealand's international affairs.
Described by another eulogist, Peter Harris, as a 'warm-hearted, caring, kind man', Stuart enjoyed a 60-year partnership with his wife Nancy (Rouse), which produced three daughters and a son. They were both stalwart members of the NZIIA's Christchurch branch, which he chaired from 1993 to 1999. His long service to the branch was recognised by his election as an NZIIA honorary vice president in 2006, and six years later he was made a life member.
Awarded an Anzac fellowship in 1976, Stuart spent a productive time at the Australian National University, which underpinned his later perceptive comments on Australia-New Zealand relations. He was an adjunct fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences at Canterbury University and a research associate in the National Centre for Research on Europe, and also spent time in Japan. During the 1980s he weighed in on the controversy over American ship visits which led to the termination of New Zealand's role in ANZUS. His book Neither Confirm nor Deny: The nuclear ships dispute between New Zealand and the United States was published in 1987. Stuart continued to be a regular participant in debate on issues of moment to this country, his articles appearing in a range of publications, including the Listener, where an important article by him on autonomous weapons appeared just over a year ago. He also interpreted New Zealand policy for overseas readers, contributing regularly to the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun and the Economist.
Stuart and Nancy were greatly inconvenienced by the damage caused to their house by the 2010 earthquake in Christchurch, which forced them into a peripatetic existence --they occupied thirteen houses while waiting for repairs to be completed. The experience helped induce them to move north to Wellington in 2013, where they resided in Wadestown. Recognising his depth of experience, Victoria University of Wellington's Centre for Strategic Studies quickly enlisted him as a senior fellow.
Stuart was active in the NZIIA during his time in Wellington, immediately joining the Wellington branch. At the NZIIA's National Council in 2013, he was elected to the Standing Committee, where his South Island and outside-Wellington branch perspective proved valuable. Brian Lynch spoke for all who served with Stuart when he noted that:
I and others on the Committee will miss his thoughtful offerings to our discussions around the table. We will be the poorer without his calm and composed contributions, and the sense of principle and purpose that underpinned them. The ready smile we enjoyed. His wry sense of humour; never hurtful, often irreverent, sometimes wicked.
At the 2019 National Council Stuart indicated that he did not seek re-election to the Standing Committee.
Stuart was a firm believer in the traditional approach to NZIIA activities--in-depth presentations followed by short periods of questions. The movement of the NZIIA away from this approach towards what he viewed as more ephemeral undertakings troubled him. He was a strong supporter of the NZ International Review, not just in his comments in the Standing Committee but also by contributing a series of thoughtful and enlightening articles to it. He was working on another, on the threat to liberal democracy, when his final illness intervened. I greatly appreciated the support Stuart gave me as managing editor over the last six years, notably at his last National Council appearance. He understood the difficulties of maintaining standards while publishing to deadlines.
Stuart's contribution to the New Zealand was recognised in 1987, when he was appointed an MBE 'for services to journalism'. He was a man of great integrity, intellect and energy, and he will be greatly missed by all his friends and those who appreciate careful analysis of the world and New Zealand's place in it.