Anthony John Stanhope Reid — a name not familiar to any but close family — is more widely recognized by the abbreviated version, Anthony Reid, or simply as Tony. Under these various names he is known as a husband, father, grandfather, Catholic, intellectual, New Zealander, Australian, tennis-player, Canberra denizen, Aceh scholar, institute founder, author, mentor and friend, but more broadly as an eminent historian of the area we today term Southeast Asia. It is to this aspect of Tony Reid that the present volume is dedicated. While in the following chapter Robert Cribb more directly engages with the intellectual strands of Tony's life, this Introductory piece will attempt to introduce the journeys which Tony and his family have made through time and space.
To have been born into the family of a senior civil servant in New Zealand in the middle of 1939 was probably not the worst way to come into the world, although the timing could have been better. Young Reid did not know this at the time, but war clouds were gathering in Europe and the Dominion of New Zealand (which had rashly decided against joining the Federation of Australia at its establishment in 1901) was preparing itself to assist Britain in her hour of need. The beginnings of a Pacific War in 1941 and the fall of Singapore early in the following year brought much closer threats to the New Zealand realm and a growing recognition that Mother Britain might not always be there to protect its people. It was thus that the need for a more overt foreign policy and a national diplomatic service asserted itself in New Zealand and, as eyes turned across the Pacific seeking new defenders, Reid Senior was in 1943 sent to help set up the first New Zealand mission in Washington. It was only in the following year that trans-Pacific Ocean travel was considered sufficiently safe to allow the Reid children to join their parents in the United States’ capital. Thus began Tony Reid's experience with travel beyond the land of his birth and his engagement with worlds beyond those with which he was familiar.
Four years of schooling in the United States and later visits from New Zealand to Jakarta subsequent to his father's appointment as the United Nations representative in Indonesia seem to have induced little other than feelings of trauma and displacement in the young Reid.