New Zealander of the Year: Ray Avery
Wed, 03 Feb 2010 10:45p.m.
Ray Avery, a former street kid who went on to invent medical devices that have save the sight and lives of millions of the world's poor, has tonight been named the first New Zealander of the Year.
The inaugural New Zealander of the Year Awards 2010 were held in Auckland tonight, recognising outstanding service, achievement, contribution to the nation, celebrates excellence and recognises inspirational New Zealanders, organisers said.
Mr Avery, 62, is a scientist whose low cost, sustainable medical devices, invented in the garage of his Mount Eden, Auckland, home, are making a difference to millions of the world's most vulnerable.
His creations include intraocular lenses to combat cataract blindness, an intravenous flow controller to prevent fatal drug administration errors, and a high tech low cost, low maintenance incubator that will save lives of premature babies in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa.
He has also developed a high protein, pre-digested formula, using by-products from New Zealand's meat and kiwifruit industries. It is produced in Nepal.
All his products have a global use, both in the developing and developed world, and the demand for them provides ongoing funds for his charity, Medicine Mondiale.
"This award celebrates the Kiwi can do, number eight wire clever thinking which allows us to develop world changing medical products and save lives. I am deeply honoured to receive this award and immensely proud that New Zealand can take its place on the world stage as an inventive caring nation," he said.
Mr Avery developed his interest in science at the age of 14, when he found warmth in public libraries while living rough in London.
He moved to New Zealand 40 years ago and spent 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry. He was a founding member of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Auckland before devoting himself entirely to finding solutions that combat global poverty and health issues.
Mr Avery was selected ahead of Olympic gold medallist Valerie Vili, and Warehouse founder and philanthropist Sir Stephen Tindall, to receive the premier award at this evening's gala award presentation in Auckland.
Others to be honoured were: Otago's Sir Eion Edgar, named Senior New Zealander of the Year for his lifetime of philanthropic service; Manukau's Divya Dhar, 24, named Young New Zealander of the Year for campaigning against global poverty and climate change; Manukau's Haami (Sam) Tutu Chapman, given the Local Heroes Award for his extraordinary work with gangs and communities at risk.
Nelson's Victory Village was awarded the Community of the Year Award for creating strong support services for happy and successful communities.
The five award winners were announced from a list of three finalists in each category. They received a handcrafted, New Zealand made trophy and $5000 each towards their work.
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3/02/2010 11:51:56 p.m.
Thats amazing - it was announced on TV that Valerie Vili... Was that a miss pronounced win or what? Wouldn't be the first time they read out the wrong pages on telly.....Don't get me wrong - I Congratulate Ray Avery - but must wonder what the blooming telly mobs are doing to announce on air that Val had won the NZer of the Year?
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