Latitude Magazine - - Feature -


For­mer Ash­bur­ton Col­lege stu­dent and now spe­cial­ist crim­i­nal lawyer, James Rapley has fought the bad guys and de­fended them over the past three decades. He has rep­re­sented peo­ple ac­cused of mur­der, rape and other se­ri­ous crimes; he was the lawyer ap­pointed by the High Court to help Ash­bur­ton WINZ killer Rus­sell John Tully, who re­fused to co-op­er­ate with his ap­pointed de­fence coun­sel.

He is highly re­garded in his le­gal pro­fes­sion and was one of 10 bar­ris­ters elevated in 2018 to the rank of Queen’s Coun­sel, a pres­ti­gious ti­tle.

James spent the early years of his ca­reer work­ing for the Crown and was also a prose­cu­tor for the Se­ri­ous Fraud Of­fice. It was al­ways his goal to be­come a bar­ris­ter.

James now practises from Brid­ge­side Cham­bers in Christchur­ch. When he’s not work­ing for clients, he teaches law at Univer­sity of Canterbury and the Univer­sity of the South Pa­cific, help­ing stu­dents with court­room skills, how to cros­sex­am­ine and how to open and close a case at trial.


Driv­ing his trac­tor on the fam­ily farm along­side the Hinds River one day in 2013, Mike Read had an epiphany that would see him fol­low his child­hood dreams to ex­plore the world.

As a kid he had spent hours play­ing in the river, pre­tend­ing to be lead­ing great expedition­s into the wildest places of the planet. Sit­ting on the trac­tor that day, he asked him­self: ‘What would it be like to live out some of those ad­ven­tures I dreamed about when I was a boy?’

That sim­ple ques­tion was the catalyst for ad­ven­tures that have taken him to some chal­leng­ing and in­hos­pitable lo­ca­tions.

He is cur­rently on a se­ries of expedition­s that are part of a global chal­lenge called the Seven Sum­mits, where ad­ven­tur­ers at­tempt to climb the high­est moun­tain on each of the seven con­ti­nents. Mike has climbed five of the seven sum­mits to date, in­clud­ing Mount Ever­est in

May 2018. Be­fore that, he had al­ready climbed El­brus in Rus­sia, Kil­i­man­jaro in Africa, Aconcagua in South Amer­ica and De­nali in Alaska.


Anna Thomas, who grew up in Ash­bur­ton, spent eight years work­ing along­side Kevin Milne on con­sumer af­fairs pro­gramme Fair Go, deal­ing with her fair share of nasty peo­ple.

Of the many bat­tles she fought on the show, she was in­stru­men­tal in help­ing change ACC leg­is­la­tion to com­pen­sate fire­fight­ers ad­e­quately. She also ex­posed a get-rich-scheme fraud­ster by con­fronting him with a cam­era and a mi­cro­phone in an One­hunga burger bar. He came at her with a chair.

Anna credits her babysit­ter in Ash­bur­ton, a jour­nal­ist called Felic­ity Clark, with get­ting her into the news busi­ness. She left school to work at Ra­dio Avon in Christchur­ch and later spent time in Yu­goslavia, won­der­ing if she could be a war cor­re­spon­dent.

She re­turned to New Zealand and be­gan her stint with Fair Go in 1995. She loved go­ing into peo­ple’s homes and help­ing solve their prob­lems.

Anna now runs her own me­dia comms busi­ness and was a me­dia spe­cial­ist for Tourism New Zealand at the time of the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

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