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OBITUARY

MR. A. R. ATKINSON

The death occurred this morning after a short illness of Mr. Arthur Richmond Atkinson, senior member of the legal firm of Atkinson, Dale, and Mather. Mr. Atkinson was a member of an early colonial family distinguished for able public service and he himself upheld worthily the family tradition. He was born at New; Plymouth on August 15, 1863, the son of Mr. A. S. Atkinson of Nelson, and nephew of Sir Harry Atkinson and Mr. Justice Richmond. He was educated at Nelson College . and at; the age of 14 won a New Zealand. University scholarship which he was unable to hold on account of his youth. He then went to England and won an entrance scholarship at Clifton College. This he held till 1882, when he won an Exhibition scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Oxford. At Oxford he was one of a lively literary group including such men as "Q" (Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch), the two Newbolts, Ybunghusband, and A. Grenfell. The associations thus formed; as well as his own inclinations, had a great influence upon his subsequent career. Though he chose the law as his profession he retained a keen and probably a greater interest in literature,

He graduated B.A. at Oxford and was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1887. The same year he returned to New Zealand and served an apprenticeship in law offices in Nelson and Dunedin. In 1889-90 he was secretary to Mr. Justice Richmond. In 1892 he began practice in Wellington and he continued a respected member of his profession to the date of his death.

His zeal for social reform and his brilliance as a searching critic quickly

led to recognition of his capacity for public service. For very many years he was a member of the City Council where he was- a powerful leader in resisting curtailment of public rights, such, for example, as encroachment on the Town Belt. From 1899 to 1902, he represented the city of Wellington iii the House of Representatives. At this time the old Conservative Party had as its candidates a trip whose ability and force as critics it would have been difficult to surpass—John Duthie, J. C. W. Aitken, and A. R. Atkinson.

In Social reform, apart from politics, Mr. Atkinson had his chief interest in the Prohibition cause, which- he served with the greatest ardour. His work extended over a long period and he was president of the N.Z. Alliance from 1920 to 1922.

Had Mr. Atkinson devoted his attention wholly to law his keenly analytical mind, his skill in argument, and his wit would have won for him an outstanding eminence. But from his Oxford days he inclined more and more to literary work, and to this he gave much of his time. He possessed a -clear perception of the beauties of literature, with a wide knowledge and full appreciation of the classics. But his interest in the world around him led him to exercise his talent more in the field of current events. His work was an example of the highest type, of literary journalism—knowledge, based on wide reading, with clarity and force in expression. For over a quarter of a century he was a valued contributor to the columns of the "Evening Post." The "Bookman" column over the pen-name of "Ajax" was his work, but even more distinctive, though always anonymous, were his frequent articles' on foreign politics and Imperial affairs. Of constitutional questions affecting the Empire he had made a particular study. As a valuable member of the' New Zealand "Round Table" Group. he took a leading part both in discussions and in the contribution of articles on New Zealand affairs which maintained the highest "Bound Table" standard. From 1907 to 1011 he .was the New Zealand correspondent of the London "Morning Post," and for'about ten years subsequently New Zealand correspondent of "The Times." Mr. Atkinson was married in 1900 to Miss L. M. Kirk, daughter .of Professor T. Kirk, and sister of Professor H. B. Kirk. Mrs. Atkinson, who was a respected leader in social movements, died in 1921, leaving a daughter, Miss Janet Atkinson. In 1923 Mr. Atkinson married Miss Maud Banfleld, a distinguished hospital worker in the war, who died in 1931.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19350326.2.53

Bibliographic details

OBITUARY, Evening Post, Volume CXIX, Issue 72, 26 March 1935

Word Count
710

OBITUARY Evening Post, Volume CXIX, Issue 72, 26 March 1935

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