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Innovation Through Observation - Ray Avery


Wed 24 Aug 2011, 6:30pm

Where: Regent Theatre, Cnr Mackay & Herbert Sts, Greymouth, Grey

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: IPENZ

Ray Avery – scientist, businessman and proud father of two little girls – is the founder and Chief Executive of award-winning development agency Medicine Mondiale.

Born in England to violent parents, Ray grew up in orphanages and on the street. Despite the odds, and thanks to a thoughtful teacher, he managed to get through school, discovering a love of science along the way.

By the early 1970s, and with a science degree under his belt, Ray set out to see the world. Eventually he found himself in New Zealand, where the “can-do attitude” of the locals struck a chord.

Staying on in the place he calls “clever country”, Ray became a founding member of the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Auckland Medical School and a Technical Director of Douglas Pharmaceuticals.

A meeting with the legendary Fred Hollows changed Ray’s life – as he lay dying in a Sydney hospital bed he told Ray, “Stop making money out of sick people and do something *^%*^* useful with your life”.

As a Technical Advisor for the Fred Hollows Foundation, Ray designed and commissioned Intraocular Lens Laboratories in Eritrea and Nepal, cutting the cost of lenses and making them available to the world’s poorest communities. The low-cost lenses are expected to bring sight to 30 million people by 2020.

As the Chief Executive of Medicine Mondiale, Ray has also worked with expert teams to develop infant incubators, IV flow controllers and pre-digested protein formulations to combat child malnutrition.

His work has been recognised by his peers and he has received numerous awards including a Rotary Paul Harris Medal, the Bayer Research and Development Innovator Award 2008, World Class New Zealand Award for Biotechnology 2009, TBWA Disruption Award 2010, Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year 2010 and the Blake Leadership Medal 2010.

Ray is also the Patron of the Non Resident Nepali Association of New Zealand, a position previously held by Sir Edmund Hillary.

In January 2011 Ray was appointed a Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, the highest order of the New Zealand Knighthood honours.