About Us

Cooper Rapley was established in 1881 and is one of the Manawatu’s leading and largest law firms. Our Clients range from family owned farming businesses and private clients through to some of the largest companies and institutions in the Manawatu and beyond.
We practice in a range of areas including Commercial law, Rural law, Local government law, Resource management and environmental law, Civil litigation and dispute resolution, property transactions, asset protection, Estate and Trust administration, Employment law, Immigration law and Relationship property.
Cooper Rapley is a proud part of the Manawatu community; we contribute both as an organisation and as individuals. Our staff are energetically involved in many local community organisations. If you have any questions in relation to our services, or would just like to chat, get in touch with one of the team. (The Team).
Our History
Cooper Rapley in the 21st century is an amalgamation of two Manawatu legal practices – Cooper Rapley of Palmerston North and Cullinane Abraham & Co of Feilding.
Cooper Rapley
Cooper Rapley & Rutherford was a solicitors firm established at 19 Rangitikei Street and 12 Cuba Street by Mr H Cooper and Mr J Rutherford. Mr Cooper was previously the local resident partner of Bell Gully & Cooper, the Palmerston North branch of Bell Gully Bell & Myers of Wellington.
Mr S W Rapley joined the firm sometime between 1918 to 1922. In 1951-1952 the firm became Cooper, Rapley, Rutherford & Bennett. In 1961 Mr J C A Thomson became a Partner resulting in a change to Cooper, Rapley, Bennett & Thomson.  Perhaps the name was getting a bit long, in 1980 it was changed to Cooper Rapley.
Cullinane Abraham
Cullinane Abraham was opened by Denis Crispin Cullinane (Denny) known affectionately by his staff as “The Boss” and referred to by himself as “The Great Cullinane”. The practice was initially located in the building on the corner of Kimbolton Road and Stafford Street in Feilding (now occupied by M & J Shoes) and later moved to the old United Bank of Australia building at 4 Manchester Square, Feilding. Later Paul Denis Cullinane, son of Denny Cullinane and known affectionately by the staff as “PD” joined his father and the firm was known as Cullinane & Cullinane.
Sometime after the retirement of Denny Cullinane, Paul was joined by Michael Robert Hogan and the firm amalgamated for a short time with Fitzherbert Abraham in Palmerston North. When this amalgamation was dissolved Mike Hogan became a partner with Paul Cullinane and the firm was known as Cullinane & Hogan.
In 1982 Cullinane & Hogan amalgamated with Abraham & Howie and the firm became known as Cullinane Abraham & Co. Cullinane Abraham & Co continued at 4 Manchester Square before moving to 19 Manchester Street, Feilding in June 1996.
And now…
In 1989 Cooper Rapley and Cullinane Abraham& Co amalgamated and became known as Cooper Rapley. The partners of the amalgamated firm were Craig Hart, Richard Howie, John Reardon, John Maassen, Roger Kennedy and Lester Houghton. This was the makings of the Cooper Rapley we all know and love today.
Nicholas Jessen joined the Cooper Rapley Partnership in 2015 and more recently Kirsten Harper joined in 2017. Richard, John, Roger, Lester, Nick and Kirsten now lead a team of professional, innovative and approachable young solicitors, highly experienced legal executives and skilled support staff. The team at Cooper Rapley is committed to the ongoing contribution to the Manawatu community as they have done since 1881.