A. R. D. Fairburn (Arthur Rex Dugard Fairburn) Biography
(1904–57), (Arthur Rex Dugard Fairburn), We New Zealanders, Strange Rendezvous, Three Poems, Collected Poems, Fairburn, Letters
New Zealand poet, born in Auckland and educated at the grammar school there, where he became friendly with R. A. K. Mason. He travelled widely, doing various jobs, though his period in England from 1930 to 1932 was a disillusioning experience. Upon his return he was an editor, scriptwriter, and university lecturer, and was instrumental in awakening New Zealand sensibility and nationalism; though his status underwent critical reassessment in later years his achievement in this respect is unquestionable. We New Zealanders (1944) was a frank but committed portrait of his country (‘This is my country, and I am very glad to belong to it—in spite of everything’) while the two poetry collections Strange Rendezvous and Three Poems, both published in 1952, reflect Fairburn's ongoing engagement with issues of politics, humanism, and national identity; typical is the extensive verse satire ‘Dominion’, first published in 1938. Much important writing from the 1930s was not reprinted until the appearance of his Collected Poems (1966). There is a study, Fairburn (1984), by Denys Trussell, and his Letters (1984) were edited by Lauris Edmond.