From Creative Beat (Creative Tauranga)

Literary Trailblazers – December 2013/January 2014

Field Candy – writing about the land

His name is particularly apt, for the young Field Candy discovered a natural affinity with the great outdoors. Brought up in the Thames Valley, he lived always within sight of Mount Te Aroha.

Field tried his hand at various jobs and later farmed in both the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. He met his wife Mona on a ship returning from England to New Zealand. Together they farmed a 200-acre dairy block on Ohauiti Road, south of Tauranga.

Field always enjoyed working with stock. Along with their herd of cows they had pigs and sheep in the early days, and Field got involved with farm forestry.

He and Mona also raised four sons on the farm.

A fan of cricket and rugby, he took his transistor with him when working to tune in to commentaries. Fascinated with the land and the multifarious life it supports, Field was interested in and strongly practised conservation long before it became trendy. Many trees were planted on the farm and artificial products avoided wherever possible.

His forward-thinking on sustainability led to a compelling urge to write and in the late 1960s he produced articles, stories and poems. Field was an early member of Tauranga Writers (established 1967), then a close group that met in each other’s homes. One year he and Mona hosted the Christmas social, introducing them to the land he cherished.

Field spoke often of our need to give thought to the lowly, the humble and the insignificant. He found endless comedy and drama in the births, deaths and daily living of the insects, plants, birds and animals. With a whimsical turn of phrase he evoked the mood of the moment, drawing meaning and essence from what others dismissed as trivial.

I remember Field as a typical countryman, casually dressed and half-smiling, his thinning hair windblown.

Incredibly sensitive, he often struggled with the commercial realities of farming. Field suffered periods of deep depression many years before it became socially acceptable to talk about this illness or to seek help.

In 1979 the family sold the dairy farm and moved to a rugged dry stock farm further up Ohauiti Road. Here Field was able to indulge his pleasure in the natural environment and find time to express what he felt in words.

He inspired others with his desire to make the world a better place and as a man ahead of his time in his passion for conservation and the land. Four years after his death, his family organised a collection of his work to honour Field Candy’s life and work. Every living thing: a New Zealander writes of his love of the land was published by the Moana Press in 1987.

A copy is held in the New Zealand Room of the Tauranga City Library.