Sir Ray Avery is the author of bestselling autobiography Rebel With a Cause, which charts his rise from street kid to knighthood. With Cameron Bennett and Adrian Malloch, he has created The Power of Us, a collection of inspirational stories from 50 New Zealanders who have achieved extraordinary success on the world stage, from sport to film to art to writing and technology. Avery is the CEO of award-winning development agency Medicine Mondiale (www.medicinemondiale.org), and a former technical director of the Fred Hollows Foundation which provides intraocular lenses and cataract surgery to the world’s poorest. He is the recipient of the Kiwbank New Zealander of the Year Award 2010 and the Blake Leadership Medal 2010, and was made Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2011 New Year honours list for services to philanthropy. That same year he was also awarded the Ernst and Young Social Entrepreneur Award and was voted Readers Digest New Zealand’s Most Trusted Person. A pharmaceutical scientist and inventor, he is now known for his social entrepreneurship, a lifetime away from a childhood spent in English orphanages. Avery was technical director of Douglas Pharmaceuticals and a founding member of the University of Auckland School of Medicine’s Department of Clinical Pharmacology. His inventions range from intravenous drug administration systems to a high-tech low-cost incubator for premature babies, to a food which treats and prevents protein-energy malnutrition. In 2008 he won the Bayer Research and Development Innovator Award for his Acuset flow controller, and in 2009 won the World Class New Zealand Award for Biotechnology. He is deputy chair of the New Zealand Health Innovation Hub, and founder and chief scientific officer of Vigil Monitoring Systems (www.vigilmonitoring.com)..
In presenting Ray Avery with the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year award, Prime Minister John Key said: ‘Ray Avery is a remarkable individual who overcame the odds to become an inspiration to all New Zealanders. This is a man who believed in himself and rose above his circumstances to attain excellence.’Writer, actor and TV presenter Oscar Kightley called Rebel With a Cause ‘a remarkable story of one of the most extraordinary lives ever lived’ and added: ‘and one gets the sense that he’s only just getting started. Mr Ray is one of the reasons it’s so cool to live in New Zealand.’