Ray Avery: New Zealander of the Year

Written by on February 3rd, 2011. 0 comments

New Zealand is a country of geniuses, says the man declared New Zealander of the Year at a gala function tonight.

Aucklander Ray Avery, 62, a scientist, inventor and social entrepreneur was announced New Zealander of the Year at the awards ceremony attended by Prime Minister John Key.

The award recognises Kiwis who make a major contribution to the nation and inspire through their achievements.

An estimated 30 million people by 2020 will benefit from Mr Avery’s development of intraocular lenses implanted into the eyes of those suffering cataract blindness.

But Mr Avery is self-deprecating, saying: “I am not particularly clever, I’m just a focusing mechanism for the endeavours of a lot of other clever people. What I do is come up with a basic idea in a very Burt Muro way.”

An Englishman by birth, he says he loves the number eight wire Kiwi ‘can do’ attitude. It is what made him decide to settle here.

He says New Zealanders do not understand how phenomenally clever they are.

“If Aussie is the lucky country, then New Zealand is the clever country,” he says.

In 2003 he established Medicine Mondiale, an independent development agency and charity. It creates low cost sustainable solutions that combat global poverty and health issues of the most vulnerable and neglected societies. He is a great believer in long term self sustainability in working with developing countries.

The Ray Avery designed laboratories in Eritrea and Nepal provide 13 percent of the world market for intraocular lenses.

These state-of-the-art factories were built by and use technology invented and gifted by Ray. Their combined output has collapsed the cost of the precious lenses forever, making them affordable to the poorest of the poor.

The Acuset IV Flow controller, invented by Ray, prevents the under and over administration of potent IV drugs in the developed and developing world.

Another invention Ray is developing is the high tech, low cost, sturdy Liferaft Incubator. The incubator uses innovative patentable technology to reduce mortality of premature babies associated with bacterial infections in the developing world.

Among other awards from the ceremony:

Senior New Zealander of the Year was won by Otago businessman Sir Eion Edgar, 65, chairman of sharebroking firm Forsyth Barr and a director of Martinborough Vineyard Estates and other companies.

He was also president of the New Zealand Olympic Committee and a supporter of sports and arts including backing last year’s 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games and funding a Dunedin sports centre and acting as a trustee with the national Arts Foundation.

He was the cornerstone funder of the University of Otago Edgar Centre for Diabetes Research. Judges said: “When he believes in a good cause, he leads by example.”

Young New Zealander of the Year category was won by Aucklander Divya Dhar, a 24 year old twin who has just qualified as a doctor and is a campaigner for policy change, committed to bringing attention to social injustices and climate change.

She waas the first United Nations Youth Association of NZ (UNYANZ) National Conference Director and Auckland Vice President. She currently serves as Vice President of the NZ Medical Students’ Association (NZMSA).

A policy Divya wrote for NZMSA to combat the problem of doctor drain has been adopted by the government, enabling young doctors to be reimbursed up to $50,000 if they work in an area of need.

Divya founded HealtheX when she started medical school, a research group and was instrumental in sending the first New Zealand delegation to the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associatio.

Divya has also worked with Rotary and Oxfam and raised over $20,000 for the Accor Cure Kids Charity race.

Winner of the Local Hero Award was Sam Chapman from Otara. The Local Heroes Award rewards ordinary people doing extraordinary things in their local communities.

Judges said he had spent 40 years helping those who have lost hope and been rejected by mainstream society. The said he was described as being inspirational with “faith, grace, wisdom and commitment.”

He focuses on giving people the skills and motivation to turn their lives around. He has worked with the 30 strong Notorious Chapter of the Mongrel Mob and Mark Stephens, known as the ‘Parnell Panther’. He has taught in schools, prisons and churches and with wife Thelma founded a variety of trusts, childhood centres and programes. He also works internationally on behalf of indigenous communities in the USA, Australia, Vanuatu and Israel.

A devoted Christian, Sam knows there are no short-term solutions to the majority of issues the people he works with face. However, his dedication to helping others has had a multiplier effect – those that he has, in his own words, ‘journeyed with’, are now out there in turn ‘journeying with others’.

Community of the Year winner was Nelson’s Victory Village

Victory Village, including Victory Community Health Centre and Victory Primary School, is a unique example of community-based support achieving positive health, social and educational outcomes, judges said.

After evolving from a number of health and social services operating randomly out of school meeting rooms, in a disadvantaged area of Nelson, Victory Village and the wider Victory community have gone on to attract national attention for the way in which they respond and relate to their community’s needs and aspirations.

This has resulted in a more sustainable community, with more effective service provision and families that are more stable and resilient.

The shortlist for the awards was selected from hundreds of nominated New Zealanders.

Judges included former prime minister Jim Bolger, Dame Malvina Major and former All Black Michael Jones.

Mr Bolger said he was “amazed by the overwhelming contribution” people had made to their communities, New Zealand and the world”.

“Awards like these give us a chance to say thank you to extraordinary individuals, who inspire us as New Zealanders.”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/3290820/Ray-Avery-New-Zealander-of-the-Year

A rich lister’s generous habit
Written by on January 22nd, 2011. 0 comments

On Thursday, Hugh Green, 79, was outed. At a little ceremony at his company’s offices in Onehunga, he presented Sir Ray Avery’s charity, Medicine Mondiale, with $500,000 for the development of an affordable, quality incubator that will save the lives of babies in developing countries.

Giving money away is something of a habit that had gone beneath the public radar before publicity surrounding his latest donation.

Late last year, the Centre for Brain Research at Auckland University received $1 million (over five years) from the Hugh Green Charitable Trust. He’s given $300,000 to the Malaghan Medical Research Institute’s cancer cell research group and $1 million to set up a fund to support diabetes and breast cancer research.

St Vincent de Paul, various Auckland hospices, the restoration of St Patrick’s Cathedral and the St Patrick’s Day parade are other beneficiaries. “He just goes about it quietly. It’s the way it’s always been,” says daughter Maryanne, chief executive of her father’s company, the Hugh Green Group.

What has changed is the frequency. So much so that son John has had to scale back time spent at his racehorse-training partnership to vet and organise the charitable side of his father’s activities.

Green recently sent $70,000 to Grey District mayor Tony Kokshoorn to help families of Pike River miners who died and is in the process of making a contribution to help the Christchurch earthquake recovery. “He sees these things and says, ‘we need to give them something’,” says John.

“Did you tell him about my girlfriend, Louise?” quips Green in his still-rich brogue to his son as the Herald is leaving. He’s referring to Louise Belcher, manager of the Papakura family centre, part of Dame Lesley Max’s Great Potentials charity, which teaches parenting skills.

“I feel good about supporting people when you see the time and effort they put in for nothing or for very little financial return,” says Green.

GREEN LEFT school at 12 to become a drover, guiding cows to cattle marts where mental arithmetic and the ability to pick a buyer who would make good his promise to pay were essential survival skills.

As the son of a publican who was his own best customer, Green says the family was “on the bones of our bum”.

The advent of the lorry dried up droving work and at age 19 Green sailed on a £10 assisted passage to Australia with a plan to make enough money to return to Ireland to buy one himself. After stints labouring on hydro schemes and cutting cane, Green fell in with some Irishmen digging trenches in Melbourne for 1s 6d a foot – good money at the time. They then priced and won a job digging trenches and laying water mains, which earned them as much as £100 a week.

In 1952, with £1200 saved and in the company of another native of Donegal, Barney McCahill (father of former All Black, Bernie), Green decided to travel home via New Zealand and Canada.

In Wellington, they won a tender to lay cables for the Post and Telegraph Department, followed by another to lay 21 miles of cable around Auckland City. The fledgling Green & McCahill (Contractors) Ltd bought a digger and expanded into tunnelling, sewage and stormwater contracts and grew to become a major operator in infrastructure projects throughout the country.

The company’s success put both men on the rich list. Green’s fortune – boosted since 1980 by the acquisition of farms on the fringes of Auckland, land development, oil and gas exploration and shrewd investment in the stock market – was recently said to be $190 million.

His land bank has him sitting pretty for the future too, able to cash in as Auckland spreads. But, he says, he didn’t buy land because it might one day be carved into sections. “I bought if I thought it was value in itself. If you own land, it can only go up in value.

“People say I must have had great vision but I really had no vision. I was day-to-day. I tendered for jobs I thought I could do and worked very hard to get them up and going. It just all happened. You never said ‘I want to have so much money in a certain amount of time’.”

Ask about golden business rules and he tells you to keep a tight rein on costs and he’s not into leverage. He never bought anything unless he could afford it.

Apart from business being a little quieter, the current world downturn hasn’t affected his company. “We don’t owe any money to anybody and that was the secret of our success.

“I see people starting out who have a few quid and they see an overdraft from the bank as the answer but that’s no answer at all. The important thing in the construction business is to get your costs right or you’re gone.”

But there were scary times – tenders he and McCahill won that were out of their league but which they got done through perseverence, a close call building the Hamilton road by-pass during the 1974 oil shock when the cost of diesel soared from 14c a gallon to 76c during the project, another close call building the Te Marua water-storage twin-lakes in Upper Hutt.

In the Hamilton case they were saved by a contract clause that covered them for any increase in the cost of machinery hire – “but it took a lot of scrapping”. They were down $5 million on Te Marua until they won all three arbitration disputes. The point being that by then they were big enough to fund fighting in court. It would have knocked a poorer company over, he says.

“You never thought of losing. You wouldn’t rest, you’d keep at it.”

He’s pleased about plans to make resource consent processes more efficient and says New Zealand must make more of what is in the ground. Gold, coal.

“Ireland is pretty down there now but New Zealand could follow. We have a lot of debt. It’s only the dairy industry that is keeping us up now.”

Of the Government’s goal of closing the wealth gap with Australia, Green says “we have as much chance of leaping over the moon” but we can make much more of what we have. We should be getting minerals out to strengthen our balance sheet. It might blot the landscape in a few places but what about it? It can be managed.”

New Zealand and Irish flags fly out front of the Hugh Green Group offices in Onehunga. Green, who is battling prostate cancer, never did make it back to Ireland to live. Work, love and marriage (to Moira, they have five children, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild) got in the way but he makes annual trips and professes a great love of both countries.

Ireland recognised a great son when in 2006 its national university presented the school drop-out with an honorary doctorate of laws. Not one for honours, Green surprised himself with how much he enjoyed the experience. Honoured that day were a philosopher, a papal knight, a clinical pharmacologist, experts in post-modernism, algebra – and a former boy cattle drover.

Though a republican, he’s pleased New Zealand has recognised the likes of Dame Lesley and Sir Ray and he’s grateful he found here the opportunities that have given him the wealth to give back by helping the likes of them.

His simple litmus test can be seen in how he came to first met Avery a few years ago. “I read an article in the Herald and thought, ‘here’s a fella who is doing good work for no profit for himself’.

“That’s the sort of people who you would like to help.”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10701310

Kiwi inventor an unsung hero no longer – Video
Written by on December 31st, 2010. 0 comments

http://www.3news.co.nz/Kiwi-inventor-an-unsung-hero-no-longer/tabid/309/articleID/192887/Default.aspx

New Zealander of the Year knighted
Written by on December 31st, 2010. 0 comments

http://tvnz.co.nz/health-news/new-zealander-year-knighted-3989519/video?vid=3989808

Baby spurs inventor on
Written by on December 31st, 2010. 0 comments

The birth of his daughter has spurred one of New Zealand’s newest knights to speed another of his life-saving inventions to the developing world.

Sir Ray Avery, 63, was named New Zealander of the Year in February and has been knighted in the New Year’s Honours list.

Sir Ray, an Auckland scientist, entrepreneur and inventor whose innovations have benefited millions in the developing world, has recently finished developing a low-cost “Liferaft Incubator” which will use patented technology to reduce the death rate of premature babies affected by bacterial infections.

The birth of his second daughter Anastasia six days ago made Sir Ray realise the importance of the invention and made him focus on getting it rolled out sooner, he said.

His own beginnings in orphanages and on the streets made a sharp contrast with the honour he had achieved.

“Fifty years ago I was sleeping rough under a bridge in the East End of London and now I’m a knight. It’s beyond my wildest aspirations.”

As a homeless 13-year-old, Sir Ray spent hours in libraries for warmth and it was there that he developed his love of knowledge and science.

The knighthood was also an acceptance by his adopted country, he said. “I felt like a Kiwi who was born in the wrong country. To be recognised is personally very important.”

Sir Ray said the gong was testament to all the people who had worked on his projects.

As chief executive of independent development agency and charity Medicine Mondiale, Sir Ray has created low-cost solutions to combat poverty and health problems in the world’s most vulnerable and neglected societies.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/4504114/Baby-spurs-inventor-on

Great end to glorious Christmas
Written by NZHerald.co.nz on December 31st, 2010. 0 comments

KNIGHT GRAND COMPANION
For services to philanthropy: Ray Avery

Ray Avery – inventor, humanitarian, philanthropist and a good, down-to-earth Kiwi bloke who knows how to handle a nailgun – has had one of the best Christmases of his 64 years.

Sir Ray is made a knight in today’s New Year Honours, just over a week after his wife, now Lady Anna, presented him with what he has called a most glorious Christmas present – a daughter, Anastasia, born on December 23.

“All the gongs have come at once,” he said.

Sir Ray, named New Zealander of the Year in February by Prime Minister John Key, becomes a Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to philanthropy. It is one of the country’s highest honours.

The scientist has used his skills to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people with several inventions.

He set up the independent development agency Medicine Mondiale, which creates affordable products to improve access to quality healthcare on a global scale.

He has also developed production of inexpensive interocular lenses to restore sight to millions of people, and helped to establish factories making the lenses in Nepal and Eritrea.

Sir Ray was born in England but bristles slightly when called a Pom. Within nine months of arriving here in 1973, became a New Zealand citizen.

“From the moment I stepped off the mainland of England I was on a journey to find home and when I stepped on to New Zealand I found it.”

New Zealanders had an inventive gene “innately impregnated in our DNA”, he said.

“More importantly than that, we are a can-do country. The country I left behind in England was not a can-do country.”

After running away from home to get away from his parents, he lived for several months under a railway bridge near Finsbury Park, east London, and dreamed of owning his own bicycle shop.

“The thought of being a knight was very, very far from my imagination.

“But I came to New Zealand in the early 1970s and fell in love with New Zealand and it is great to be recognised and loved by the country you love.”

However, his knighthood was not just about him, Sir Ray said.

“It is about the labyrinth of scientists and technicians who all donate their time for free to make sure the stuff we do happens, so I was happy to accept the award on their behalf as much as mine.”

He spoke about his award as he and his Greek father-in-law built a deck at his Mt Eden home using his own nailgun. “I don’t think you are a proper Kiwi until you own your own nailgun and know how to use it.”

From an early age he began pulling things apart to see how they worked.

Sir Ray said he had never been much for titles. Some people would call him Sir Ray but others would call him Mr Ray, as they had done for a long time as a sign of affection, and that was fine with him.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10697215

Ray Avery, New Zealander of the Year and author of ‘Rebel with a Cause’
Written by on August 22nd, 2010. 0 comments

Q+A: Ray Avery and John Hood interview
Written by on June 27th, 2010. 0 comments

RAY AVERY & Dr JOHN HOOD interviewed by PAUL HOLMES

PAUL On Friday night Ray Avery received this year’s Peter Blake Medal for Leadership, New Zealand’s premier leadership honour. He’s in excellent company because last year’s winner was Dr John Hood, former Vice Chancellor of Auckland and more laterally Oxford Universities. Previous winners have been Sir Murray Halberg, Professor Paul Callaghan, Sir Steven Tindall, and Sir John Anderson. In February this year Ray was also named New Zealander of the Year, he’s a scientist, he’s an inventor, he’s what you call a social entrepreneur, and by 2020 roughly 30 million people will have benefited from his development of intraocular lenses implanted into the eyes of those suffering cataract blindness. It is my pleasure therefore to welcome both Ray Avery and Dr John Hood to Q A this morning. Welcome.

Want to ask you first of all what is leadership?

RAY AVERY – CEO Medicine Mondiale

To me leadership is I guess being a good global citizen. Often we think about leadership as being those icons that forge societies forward, but often they end up being flawed as well, just by the nature of the beast, but for me being a good Mum and Dad and bringing up a good child is leadership, and that’s particularly important to me because of my background.

PAUL But it’s also about getting things done isn’t it John?

DR JOHN HOOD – CEO Robertson Foundation

Yes I think Ray’s right, I think it’s about having a sense of purpose or about what it is you’re concerned, and about an ability to execute often through other people, and to do so in a way with consistent values, such that people respect what you’re trying to achieve.
PAUL Yes John, when you won last year the panel said you had demonstrated outstanding leadership through an ability to articulate a vision, build a successful team to implement it and keep the focus on people. So therefore a leader not only has to have the vision, the leader sees it through with people?

JOHN Absolutely. I mean not only do you have to have vision, you have to have I think a great sense of strength and independence. Often in advancing things you will have a whole number of critiques against what you’re trying to do, because what you’re doing is something new, what forges societies forwards is people with vision and the strength and acumen to see those things through.

PAUL Basically the leader has a vision and just goes for it, just goes for it and people join?

JOHN Absolutely. Realistic.

PAUL What is it you actually did, where did you get a start. You met Fred Hollows, you said look I’ve got these lenses I’ve invented. You went up to Eritrea and found nothing but chaos, you phoned Fred, Fred was so ill with a cancer that he couldn’t take the call, Gabby was his wife and you couldn’t bear to tell her that you couldn’t build these factories there, so you went ahead yourself and had them built?

RAY Well I think that was the most challenging time being in Eritrea at the end of a 30 year war where there was nothing functioning, and you’re on your own. But I was sort of transported back to when I was living on the streets of London. My thesis was I survived that, so I could actually survive this. If there was anybody built to build that factory in a desperate country it was this man.

PAUL Tell me a bit about that background. I mean your background is stunning actually, you’re background’s incredible. You were born after the war, Dad had been a POW in Poland, no doubt deeply stressed, came home, deserted your Mum, you were in orphanages for about ten years. Describe that experience.

RAY Oh well it was a three dimensional sort of Dickensian horror story, it’s like between the Lord of the Flies and you know Oliver Twist. So you know to survive I had to look for the mentor in myself because I didn’t have one, and I think my leadership skills come out of the fact that I’ve – I don’t think you make a leader down in the factory down in Ponsonby, I think what happens is that they’re a sum of their life’s experiences, and my annealing was much more ferocious than most people’s.

PAUL I mean on one occasion in one of the orphanages you were in, a child in the cot next to you was being sodomised by a caregiver.

RAY Yes that’s right.

PAUL After that you ran away and you set up residence under a bridge in London?

RAY A …… Park and I lived there for about nine months and fortunately I was picked up in a Police raid and taken off to Wye College in Kent which was actually a satellite society of the University of London, and there I got a beginning of an education.

PAUL That’s right, and then you also started your entrepreneurship though because you bought a machine I think to peel potatoes for the local fish and chip shop, and so it started from there.

RAY Well I thought that if I made money that I would be successful, and again that’s another issue in terms of I think forging leaders. We have different goals at different times in our lives. When I was 14 I wanted to own my own bicycle shop, and now I want to change the world, and the only thing that’s changed is not my viscera and my drive, but the knowledge that I have, and I think knowledge allows you to dream bigger.

PAUL Very importantly though, that you felt empty as a child, growing up in the orphanages of course, deprived of love, and then you became incredibly successful, you had cars, you had women, you had everything going on, and you still felt terrible emptiness.

RAY Well I was lucky I got all my Tiger Woods shares out early on, you know – so I’m worried about John.

PAUL So we know that leadership can sometimes encounter opposition, and does it also involved resilience, John?

JOHN I think so, definitely Paul. I mean I think if you have a vision you need resilience in most cases to realise that vision.

PAUL You’ve been through a period of your life where you had to have incredible resilience. You came to Oxford, an outsider, the first outsider, the first person from off the campus in 900 years, and a New Zealander to boot from the other side of the world. What was the state of Oxford when you found it, six years ago?

JOHN Well Oxford is an outstanding academy by all counts, but it did have some challenges when I went there, most particularly on the financial and administrative side.

PAUL Well it was broke.

JOHN Well it had run its cash down quite seriously, and mainly as a result of mismanagement, yes.

PAUL And so what did you do?

JOHN We did a number of things. I should also add that the academic staff and also to a degree the students, were not able to realise their aspirations owing to poor support processes and so forth as well. So it was to me a simple challenge of trying to work out how to recover the institution, and establish it such that he academic staff and the students could realise their aspirations in the most unfettered supportive way.

PAUL Yes, but they hardly got down on their knees and thanked you. In fact you encountered some terrible opposition to what you were proposing, in terms of changes to the governance, of the college’s governance of the university and the administration of the university. How tough did that get? How badly did that hurt you?

JOHN Well it was tough. We did propose changes to the governance. We thought the governance was flawed and that if the governance had been working well, the university wouldn’t have had the administrative and financial problems that it did have. I was in one sense fortunate, in another sense unfortunate that there was a governance review established by the governing body at the time I arrived, in fact on the day I arrived, and I was asked to chair it. It would not have been proper to have chaired it in a way that would have glossed over those issues, so we did propose a significant change to the structure of the governance of Oxford, in fact a change not radical that would have taken that governance structure very similar to that of most other universities in the world.

PAUL But then you lost the vote at the Congregation, the meeting of the academic staff?

JOHN Yes on the third time round of consultation on the proposals over a period of just over two years, we did lose the vote, that’s correct.

PAUL But they were vicious weren’t they? I mean there was viciousness. You were called the most hated man in England.

JOHN Well maybe by some, but I think that was unfortunate if that were the case. It was vicious politics, Oxford is an intensely political university yes.

PAUL You say Ray Avery one man can change the world, and indeed we’ve seen that because of you millions can now see. In fact you say that when somebody wakes up after the operation and starts looking at everything in the way a child does, it’s like seeing God in action.

RAY Absolutely. I mean that catharsis that you have when you can see that you can alter people’s lives profoundly, I think the important thing about leadership is that it’s a continual cycling process, and I like the fact that John’s here particularly because when I was saying goodbye to Fred Hollows – I went to Sydney to say goodbye to him – and he put his bony finger in my chest, and he had a little diluted whisky next to him, so I knew he was sick, and he said Ray stop making money out of sick people and do something *^%*^* useful with your life. You know he had problems with not saying any swearwords and then sentences at the end. And to some degree that was the catharsis that got me set on changing the world, and it’s interesting that John’s here because you know Fred challenged me to get a proper job and start doing work for humanity, and ironically John’s come to that point. You know after shaking the be Jesus out of the guys at Oxford now he’s got a proper job where he’s working in a philanthropic organisation which can actually change the world. So good on you boss.

PAUL You did shake the be Jesus out of Oxford though, and you’ve set them on a – well hopefully a successful path. Is part of leadership simply staying the course. Is it staying the course is that it? Is that what you did?

JOHN I don’t think you have any right to stay the course, I think you only stay the course if those with whom you’re working want you to stay the course, but you’ll never achieve your vision, unless you see it through.

PAUL Can you learn to be a leader, can you go on a course?

RAY I don’t think so, I don’t think you can run into a room and set a stage for a leader, in fact I would suggest in my case the leadership was one of a filtering mechanism, because if you didn’t get through the orphanage you didn’t get through the next part, or you didn’t get through commerce, you wouldn’t be a leader, you would have failed. I mean I’m probably 1.1% of the kids who actually got out with some sense of sanity and humanity out of those orphanages. We never get rid of it, but if you can learn to manage it in that way you can use your skills I think in a way that other people would find incomprehensible.

PAUL Yes you have said that you see a poor snotty dirty little kid in a poor part of the world and you go that’s me, and they need a leg up.

Congratulations Ray Avery and thank you John Hood for coming in. Congratulations to you too.

http://tvnz.co.nz/q-and-a-news/q-ray-avery-and-john-hood-interview-3612934

Interview with Noelle McCarthy on getting the knightood
Written by on April 1st, 2010. 0 comments

http://static.radionz.net.nz/assets/audio_item/0005/2451308/sno-20101231-0909-Feature_Guest-m048.asx

Interview with Findlay McDonald
Written by on April 1st, 2010. 0 comments

http://static.radionz.net.nz/assets/audio_item/0004/2263432/sat-20100410-0905-Ray_Avery_medical_solutions-m048.asx

The 2010 Blake medalist: Sir Ray Avery
Written by on February 1st, 2010. 0 comments

Sir Ray Avery is a pharmaceutical scientist and social entrepreneur whose groundbreaking work and visionary leadership is improving the lives of millions of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.
As a founding member of the University of Auckland School of Medicine and Department of Clinical Pharmacology, and as a former Technical Director of Douglas Pharmaceuticals, Sir Ray made a major contribution to the New Zealand pharmaceutical industry over a thirty-year period.

Working throughout Africa and Asia during his career, Sir Ray was exposed to the raw and real shortcomings in healthcare on those continents. With a firm belief in the need for greater global equality, he resolved to use his knowledge of pharmaceuticals, science, and product design to tackle big health issues endemic throughout the developing world at a practical sustainable level. He then sent out a call to action for others concerned about the plight of the world’s underprivileged majority and encouraged them to follow his example.

In 2003, Sir Ray founded Medicine Mondiale, a global network of experts who donate their time and skills to creating sustainable solutions to global poverty through the development of innovative medicine and technologies which have application in both the developed and developing world. By making quality healthcare accessible to the world’s poorest societies, and by developing self-sustainable solutions, Ray hopes to narrow the equality gap and to give more people the tools and solutions to improve their own lives.

Among Sir Ray’s own innovations is the development of low-cost intraocular lenses which, at less than $6, make modern cataract surgery available to the poorest of the poor. With two intraocular lens laboratories – designed and commissioned by Sir Ray – in Nepal and Eritrea, it is estimated that 30 million people suffering from cataract b…