Nicholas Tarling (1931-2017)

  It is with the greatest sorrow that the Society brings to attention the tragic passing of one of the foremost scholars on Southeast Asian studies, Dr Peter Nicholas Tarling, known to all as Nicholas Tarling. Dr Tarling, who was 86, had perished in a swimming accident on Saturday, 13 May 2017 at Narrow Neck near his home in Auckland's North Shore. A private service for family and friends was held Friday, 26 May 2017 at the University of Auckland.

Dr Tarling's association with the Society was long standing and highly felicitous. His enduring relationship with the JMBRAS was equally distinguished by scholarly contribution of the highest order and extraordinary erudition, with no less than 17 articles appearing in the JMBRAS, including reviews. Dr Tarling was one of the Society's few remaining Life Members, having been elected as far back as 1961.

Among Dr Tarling's voluminous written legacy, the Society would like to single out a special volume, deftly edited in conjunction with the Society's centenary celebration in 2007, Historians & Their Disciplines: The Call of Southeast Asian History , a unique compilation of brief sketches of an autobiographical nature penned by leading scholars of Southeast Asian history detailing their involvement in their chosen field of study. The Society is also proud to proclaim that Dr Tarling's groundbreaking study on British policy in the Malay Archipelago, 1824-1871, had been published by the Society as early as 1957. This had been Dr Tarling's doctoral thesis submitted to Cambridge University in 1956 where he was supervised by the legendary Dr Victor Purcell, the colonial authority on all things Chinese at the time.

A short obituary notice on Dr Tarling's passing written by a colleague may be found HERE.

Dr Tarling's unique and sympathetic voice in the field of Southeast Asian history will be sorely missed. The Council would like to extend its deepest condolences to his family and its appreciation for the invaluable services rendered by Dr Tarling towards the Society in all his 56 years of association with the Society.

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