Amazing schools with amazing experiences, all contributing towards changing the world.... Here's a letter from Mt Eden Normal Primary School...
"People have asked me why I care so much about those in the developing world but if I don't, who else will? Ninety per cent of the burden of preventable diseases are borne by people in the developing world and I don't believe that an accident of birth should disadvantage anyone."
Medical staff caring for neonatal babies in a South Pacific nation will soon have a new tool thanks to one Bluestone School pupil's suggestion.
Inspiration struck year 8 pupil India Sadler when she saw Ray Avery talking about infant incubators on a Breakfast Television interview.
Avery, a scientist and New Zealander of the Year in 2010, is the founder and chief executive officer of Medicine Mondiale.
High-tech incubators can cost up to $35,000 and can need on-going servicing. The $2000 Mondiale LifePod incubator, which purifies its own air and water and will run continuously for 10 years, provides medical staff with an alternative.
Sadler took Avery's appeal for fundraising to her school principal Ian Poulter, who "loved" the idea.
Poulter said the two then requested an information pack from Medicine Mondiale and approached the school's Senior Student Council.
"Our students all agreed this would be a great thing to support and decided they'd like to send a life pod to one of the Pacific Island nations as it was felt they were our closest neighbours in need," Poulter said.
Together the school's 580 pupils, aged five to 13, raised $2000 through various school events, including a mufti day and a "well-organised sausage sizzle".
"Holding the sausage sizzle gave the children a great chance to learn some planning skills - they were responsible for preparing a budget, ordering the sausages and serving them up on the day and they did a very good job."
Poulter said the funds raised were enough to buy a LifePod which will be delivered early in the New Year.
"It made them understand the value of saving young lives, it helped them gain a sense of community and understand the value of giving back to people."
Ray and Anna Avery were "delighted" with Bluestone School's achievement.
"This is fantastic news," Anna Avery said.
"Not only are these amazing schoolchildren thinking about and helping others in need, but they seem to have had a lot of fun fundraising."
There are now more than 30 schools in New Zealand sponsoring one or more LifePods.
Even God needs a hand sometimes. We designed the LifePod incubator to give premature babies the best possible chance at life.
Help us put them into production with a donation at www.medicinemondiale.org.
We would like to thank the generosity of all the magnificent artists who kindly donated 100% of their artwork to LifePod. It was a fantastic night and such a great success.
We still have some works available, so if you are interested, please visit http://www.webbs.co.nz/auction/medicine-mondiale-lifepod-art-auction and contact us at email@example.com
Sir Ray Avery, the 2010 New Zealander of the Year, will be in Wanganui tonight for the annual Pickering Lecture series.
The series, presented by the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ), is titled Innovation through observation and focuses on Sir Ray's work that has changed the lives of some of the world's poorest people.
The founder and chief executive of award-winning development agency Medicine Mondiale, Sir Ray's life story is in itself inspirational.
Born in England to violent parents, he 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. He settled in New Zealand in the 1970s.
Sir Ray was a founding member of the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at the Auckland University Medical School and a technical director of Douglas Pharmaceuticals but a meeting with the legendary Fred Hollows changed his life. As he lay dying in a Sydney hospital bed, Mr Hollows told Sir Ray to "stop making money out of sick people and do something *^%*^* useful with your life".
As an advisor for the Fred Hollows Foundation, Sir 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 CEO of Medicine Mondiale, Sir Ray worked with teams to develop infant incubators, IV flow controllers and pre-digested protein formulations to combat child malnutrition.
His lecture will be held at 5.30pm in the War Memorial Hall and entry is free.
Award-winning scientist, businessman and philanthropist Sir Ray Avery will speak in Nelson this month.
Sir Ray is to give the Institution of Professional Engineers (IPENZ) 2011 Pickering Lecture "Innovation Through Observation" at the Suter Art Gallery on August 29.
The Pickering Lecture series is hosted annually by selected IPENZ branches.
Sir Ray is the founder and chief executive of award-winning development agency Medicine Mondiale. He was born in England to violent parents and grew up in orphanages and on the street. However, he finished school and discovered a love of science.
Sir Ray arrived in New Zealand in the 1970s and the "can-do attitude" of New Zealanders struck a chord. He became a founding member of the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Auckland Medical School and a technical director of Douglas Pharmaceuticals.
Sir Ray's life was changed after meeting the legendary ophthalmologist Fred Hollows on his deathbed. Mr Hollows urged Sir Ray to "stop making money out of sick people and do something f....ing useful with your life".
He has since designed a number of low-cost medical devices which are saving and changing lives in the world's poorest communities.
Sir Ray has received numerous awards for his work, including being named the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year 2010 and the Blake Leadership Medal 2010.
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.”
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.”
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."
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."
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.
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.