He was educated at various schools in New Zealand and England in the 1970's before commencing his studies at the University of Waikato in 1980. There was no Anglican chaplaincy at university so he sought the pastoral oversight of the Roman Catholic chaplains on campus, Fr Gerald Quin and Fr Graham Alexander. It was at university he met his future wife Joanne - they were married at Saint James Anglican Church, Lower Hutt, NZ, by Canon Stuart Anderson in 1986.
In 1987 Ian and his wife moved to England so that he could pursue his doctoral studies. He completed his PhD
<!-- in what field? --> in 1990 and returned to New Zealand in 1994, settling in Auckland. In 1998 the Nield family moved back to Lower Hutt.
By 1998 it had become painfully obvious that Ian could no longer call the Anglican Church his ecclesial home. After a period of instruction the whole family was received into the Orthodox Church on Palm Sunday, 1999.