canterbury’s own lifestyle magazine / a great local read

Providing support to those in the Ashburton District dealing with a life-limiting illness, Hospice Mid Canterbury is an all ages, client-centred service, with support offered in the individual’s own home. ‘Hospice has a philosophy of care that is all about enhancing quality of life for people dealing with illness and end-of-life,’ explains local fundraising member Lynnie Scammell. ‘It’s about finding what matters most to people and helping to meet not only their physical needs, but also their social, emotional and spiritual needs.’

Hospice support is not only for the person with the life-limiting illness, but also for their family and caregivers. Since beginning to offer services in late 2015, Hospice Mid Canterbury has supported over 150 families and is currently supporting 45 families, in most cases with multiple services. Over the last 12 months, service providers and volunteers have provided 1400 hours of direct support to clients.
In addition to providing counselling, bereavement support, massage therapy, reiki therapy, reflexology and relaxation therapy, they have an amazing team of volunteers on hand to provide companionship, transport, pet care, or whatever support is required. ‘Provision of these services can make a huge difference to the quality of life for those we are helping and for their families and carers,’ explains Lynnie. The most requested services are that of recording life stories, and sitting, to enable carers to have a break or to do something for themselves.

Reliant on the generosity of community, funding agencies, and the hard work of the fundraising committee, Hospice Mid Canterbury (like those in neighbouring regions) works tirelessly to raise the funds required to continue their free-of-charge services. ‘All the funds we raise stay locally for use in our district,’ continues Lynnie. ‘Our upcoming fundraiser Home Grown is not only our major fundraising activity for this year [2019], but will be a must for the social calendar.’

To be held on Saturday 7 September at Hotel Ashburton, the evening centres around the theme ‘living every moment’. ‘With this in mind, thanks to the support of ANZCO Foods, we have put together a fun-filled evening featuring three “home grown” Mid Cantabrians who have ventured further afield and achieved remarkably in many different areas,’ continues Lynnie. While they share their stories and journeys along their varied paths, guests will be well looked after with a three-course meal and a complimentary drink – all part of the ticket price.



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 cross-examine 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.

Save The Date!


Home Grown will be held on Saturday 7 September at Hotel Ashburton. Tickets are $100 per head and can be purchased by emailing or by phoning Christine Wilson on 03 307 8387.

WORDS Lucinda Diack & Linda Clarke