Nelson lawyer found dead in crashed car 'funny, charming, loyal and irreverent'

Nelson lawyer Alistair Bowers pictured in Nelson in 2010. He was found dead on March 6.
FAIRFAX NZ

Nelson lawyer Alistair Bowers pictured in Nelson in 2010. He was found dead on March 6.

Alistair Bowers was funny, charming, loyal and irreverent.

The kind of guy who would show up in your office to present you with a "prize" bottle of whisky on spurious grounds. According to his friends, many of the qualities we charitably use when describing each other really did apply to him. He was that sort of person.

Bowers, 52, was found dead in a damaged car on March 6 on State Highway 7 near Hurunui. The coroner is investigating. His death is being treated as a suspected suicide.

Bowers, a lawyer who lived in Nelson, was supposed to be in Christchurch representing a plaintiff in a civil case. He never arrived at the courthouse.

"[He] lit up the room and made us all laugh," Bowers' friend and fellow lawyer Steve Zindel​ said.

"He'll be remembered for his larger than life personality and his generosity and his loyalty to his friends."

Zindel knew that better than most. He had first-hand experience of his friend's unlikely largesse.

"He had this Facebook competition, I think I might have been the only person that entered it among his Facebook friends. I've forgotten what it was. It some kind of word game thing. All of a sudden he turns up in my office with a bottle of whisky. I'd won.

"Just those small kindnesses . . .  He was a generous man."

Zindel said he was shocked to hear of Bowers' death. He was handling his friend's practice affairs, mostly civil litigation cases, for now.

Ad Feedback

It's understood that Bowers has five children.

According to his website, Bowers worked for Hamish Fletcher Lawyers in Nelson from 2007 to 2011.

He started practicing as a barrister sole in Nelson in 2012, specialising in civil litigation and relationship property matters.

He had worked in the District, High and Supreme courts of New Zealand, as well as the Environment Court. Bowers represented high-profile corporate clients, including ANZ and Pyne Gould Corporation.

His legal career began in Christchurch and included a four-year stint in Queenstown.

Law Society executive director Christine Grice said the legal profession had started to take mental health much more seriously in the past decade.

"We got concerned about whether we were doing enough as a profession. Law has always been one of those professions where you're really meant to be type A and hard and take it on the chin and never show any emotion or else you're weak. We all now know how dangerous that is because we're all human and we have to deal with emotions. 

"There have been cases [of suicide] in the profession. Probably the most high profile was [Wellington barrister] Greg King. Very highly-regarded and an absolute surprise to many."

The Law Society started its Practising Well initiative in 2009 after research on lawyers' mental health started emerging from Australia. A subsequent New Zealand study found more than half of all junior lawyers [up to five years' experience] found their jobs moderately stressful. 17 per cent found it highly stressful.

"Lawyers are often in conflict situations . . .  that they're acting for their clients on," Grice said.

"You do absorb a lot of that. It's often an adversarial process. Especially litigation. You're taking on the issue for your client and you're at the pointy end. So there's a lot of that transferred stress and tension."

WHERE TO GET HELP:

The Law Society has an arrangement with Lifeline to provide specialised counselling for lawyers. Lifeline: 0800 543 354

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 - Provides 24 hour telephone counselling

Youthline: 0800 376 633 or free text 234 - Provides 24 hour telephone and text counselling services for young people

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 - Provides 24 hour telephone counselling.

Tautoko: 0508 828 865 - provides support, information and resources to people at risk of suicide, and their family, whānau and friends.

Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (noon to 11pm)

Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (4pm - 6pm weekdays)

The Lowdown: thelowdown.co.nz  - website for young people ages 12 to 19.

National Depression Initiative - depression.org.nz (for adults), 0800 111 757 - 24 hour service

If it is an emergency or you feel you or someone you know is at risk, please call 111

For information about suicide prevention, see http://www.spinz.org.nz.

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Housesit and save $20k

For newlywed couple on a budget, the Wongs, house-sitting provides a welcome holiday away from their compact and ...

Here's a golden opportunity - you could save $20,000 a year minding someone else's home and pets.

Live: 'Terrific rainfall'

An incredible plume of moisture from the tropics poised douse the east of the South Island and west of the North Island ...

An "incredible plume of moisture from the tropics" will douse large swathes of the country, says Niwa.

Nursing a family affair for the Cuddy's

Melanie, Kim  and Honey Cuddy have a mutual interest in nursing,

Nursing is a family affair for the Cuddy family.

Power back on for Aucklanders

Traffic built up on Auckland's motorways on Thursday evening as commuters headed home through heavy wind gusts.

Weather warning lifted and electricity restored after strong winds batter region.

Wellington

RNZB hosts open day

Dancers Joseph Skelton and Madeleine Graham play the title characters in the Royal New Zealand Ballet's production of ...

Get a sneak peek at the Royal New Zealand Ballet's new production before it opens.

Ngauranga tunnel plan

The landslip in Ngauranga Gorge that closed State Highway 1 last week. Dunne says a tunnel would provide an alternative ...

United Future leader Peter Dunne proposes 4km route in case gorge road shuts.

Woman attacked on beach

The assault is alleged to have taken place at Mahia Beach, near Gisborne on the East Cape.

A woman was exercising on Mahia Beach near Gisborne when a man assaulted her.

Wellington doused by rain

Heavy rain is set to ease into showers, but they'll be heavy. (File photo)

About 15mm of rain fell overnight in Wellington, and a train station has flooded.

Canterbury

Backpacker calls city 'desolate' video

Australian backpacker Katie Brennan has visited Christchurch's Re:Start Mall and white chair memorial, but said the city ...

Young tourist says it's "a bit depressing" in Christchurch, as hostels battle city's bad "rep".

Downpours strike

Dozens of people have bagged and collected sandbags at the St Clair tennis courts on Victoria Rd, Dunedin, over fears of ...

Heavy rain falling in Canterbury as storm bringing deluge, strong winds and snow hits the country.

Dunedin music icon dies

Dunedin music legend Roy Colbert (pictured in 2010) has died.

Record store owner, writer, raconteur - Roy Colbert was synonymous with music in south.

Conman faked his death

Wayne Eaglesome, alive and well, outside one of his backpackers last year.

Millionaire "Alex Newman" needed super yacht staff. Then he "died", leaving all to charity.

Waikato

The best steak in NZ revealed video

Waikato angus breeder Tim Brittain.

The most succulent piece of sirloin comes from a farm in the Waikato.

Man found shot dead

A police guard stands out the front of a Whangamata Rd property in Kinloch after a man was shot there on Thursday night.

A  man has been found dead with a gunshot wound at an address in Taupo.

City homes and sections shrink

Council rules allow duplexes to be built on a 400sqm section.

Builds put more people on smaller sections and infill housing makes up half of new consents.

Pair quit eco island board

Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, near Cambridge.

They fear the Maungatautari wildlife sanctuary is laden with debt and destined to fail.

Taranaki

Doing the dirtiest work

After Disaster owner James Nunes-Vaz has never ever turned down a cleaning  job.

After the police and fire brigade have done their jobs at an emergency scene, the clean-up begins.

Builders hammered 

Taranaki builder Logan Korff, right, with Hayden Manson,  had $16,000 worth of tools stolen from a building site.

Hammers, saws, even the beer in the fridge from the roof shout - nothing is safe on these building sites.

Mark makes food his living

A Fridge specialty is manuka smoked salmon.

New Plymouth butcher Mark Wormald talks about his life in the trade.

Best mate's brutal blow

A Taranaki man pleaded guilty in the New Plymouth District Court to a serious assault on his best friend. (File Photo)

He admitted he was stealing from his mate and for his honesty he was punched in the head.

Manawatu

No way in, no way out video

The trail's reconstruction has made life much easier for villagers.

After the 2015 quake, villagers in Uhiya, Nepal were isolated, forced to fend for themselves.

Tennis courts for sale

Feilding's four asphalt courts will be sold despite five submissions opposing the sale.

Feilding's four asphalt courts will be sold despite strong opposition.

Residents want 'bickering' to end

Horowhenua ratepayers want mayor Michael Feyen and the council to get on with their work.

Horowhenua ratepayers are fed up with a council that clashes.

Two to tango

Rómulo Castro recorded songs for a new Massey University course when he visited New Zealand earlier this year for a ...

A new Massey University course uses the popular dance as a teaching aide.

Nelson

Wakatu pulls out of SHA

Artist impression of the Ocean View apartments to be built in Tahunanui, Nelson.

Wakatu Incorporation has left the Ocean View SHA project to concentrate on other work.

Dairy owners 'terrified'

20072017 NEWS PHOTO MARTIN DE RUYTER/ STUFF

Blair Hall of Nelson Police with Darshini Chauhan and Vijay Chauhan at the ...

After a spate of robberies across Nelson, the council has initiated a meeting with police and dairy owners.

Heavy rain causes slip on saddle

A slip blocked a section of State Highway 6 on the  Whangamoa Saddle on  Friday morning.

A slip has blocked SH6 on the Whangamoas between Nelson and Blenheim.

Shipwreck danger

The wreck of the Janie Seddon on Motueka's foreshore.

A wooden prop holds up the stern, but children still love climbing it. 

Marlborough

'Why not' sink navy ship?

Waikawa Dive Centre instructor Kate Trayling, left, and owner Stuart Scaife hope to use a decommissioned navy boat, ...

Divers push to sink HMNZS Endeavour in Marlborough Sounds for Cook commemoration.

Heavy rain causes slip

A section of State Highway 6 between Blenheim and Nelson has been closed to one lane following a slip on the road.

SH6 down to one lane after rain hits the top of the south.

No parole for dance teacher

Stayz Raukawa was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail at the Blenheim District Court in 2015. (File photo)

The sex offender will not finish treatment outside of jail, after his victim spoke to the parole board.

Finals time at Lansdowne

Marlborough division one grand final rivals, Baxter Wilson, left, captain of Moutere, and Glen Ballam, co-captain of ...

Whatever happens at Lansdowne Park on Saturday, history will be made.

South Canterbury

Deluge expected to hit gallery

A woman almost loses her umbrella on her way to work in Timaru on Friday.

Motorists have been warned to take extra care after a slip has blocked one lane of SH79 near Fairlie.

Downpours strike 

Dozens of people have bagged and collected sandbags at the St Clair tennis courts on Victoria Rd, Dunedin, over fears of ...

People prepare for flooding in Dunedin as deluge hammering Canterbury moves south.

Patrol proposed

Temuka Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator Jocelyn McKay said a new Temuka community patrol group has been proposed to ...

A community patrol is set to be established in Temuka following vandalism in the town this week.

Wild weather arrives

Fire service Mid-South Canterbury assistant area manager Steven Greenyer said fire fighters, even those off duty on ...

Friday could see half of South Canterbury's annual rainfall drench the region in one day.

Southland

Gecko stolen from visitor centre

The Marlborough green gecko that was stolen from the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre in Te Anau.

An at risk gecko has been stolen from the Department of Conservation visitor centre in Fiordland.

ED not for minor ailments, hospital says

Southland Hospital, Invercargill.

Stay away from "extremely busy" Southland Hopsital ED unless it's an emergency, public told.

Pump station may be replaced

Invercargill Airport, on reclaimed land

The "significant" cost of the replacement pump station is yet to be determined.

Ski tourers rescued from snow cave

End Peak, near Lake Wanaka and Treble Cone.

After getting out of their depth in back country snow, the tourists contacted the UK to say they'd built a shelter.

Ad Feedback