Sir Ray Avery

Award-winning scientist, inventor, social entrepreneur

Successful pharmaceutical scientist, inventor, philanthropist, businessman and founder and CEO of Medicine Mondiale, Sir Ray Avery was voted Readers Digest New Zealand's Most Trusted Person in 2011.

Ray spent his childhood in English orphanages and foster homes, developing an interest in science at the age of 14 while living rough on the streets of London. Today he is an award-winning scientist, successful businessman and an accomplished and entertaining conference speaker.

Over the past thirty or so years, Sir Ray has made an enormous contribution not only to the development of New Zealand's pharmaceutical industry but also to improving health issues in the developing world.

He was a founding member of the Auckland University School of Medicine, Department of Clinical Pharmacology and former Technical Director of Douglas Pharmaceuticals.

As technical advisor to the Fred Hollows Foundation Ray designed and commissioned two state-of-the art Intraocular Lens Laboratories in Eritrea and Nepal and was instrumental in making high-quality regulatory approved lenses for cataract surgery accessible to the poorest of the poor on a global scale. These low-cost lenses are expected to bring sight to 30 million people by 2020.

This groundbreaking work in the developing world has brought him respect and recognition internationally.

Having been exposed to the enormous shortcomings of available healthcare in Africa and Asia Sir Ray was determined to use his knowledge of pharmaceuticals, science and product realisation to tackle the big health issues endemic in the developing world at a practical and sustainable level.

In 2003, Ray founded development agency Medicine Mondiale using his contacts and charisma to enlist the help of other scientists and social entrepreneurs to work with him.

Today, an international network of scientists, technologists, New Zealand companies and Nobel Laureates support him donating their time and knowledge for free. Their reward is making a difference.

Ray has also invented the Acuset IV Flow Controller, a finalist in the 2008 Saatchi & Saatchi World Changing Ideas Award, and Proteinforte, a revolutionary treatment for Protein Energy Malnutrition and a low-cost infant incubator specifically designed for use in the developing world.

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, Kiwi Bank 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) and he is the chair of the World Class New Zealand advisory committee. In 2011 Ray was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit Knight of the Grand Companion in the New Year Honours for services to philanthropy.

In 2010 Sir Ray published his inspirational best-selling autobiography Rebel with a Cause which has since been reprinted several times.

Sir Ray Avery is not only an inspiring person, he is an inspiring, compelling and entertaining keynote speaker who would be sure to make your next event memorable.

Client testimonials

Sir Ray was a great way to end our conference. His life story is extremely inspirational and he appealed to our very diverse range of attendees – our support staff, farm staff, developers, researchers, scientists – there was something for everyone!! We were also pleased that Ray was able to weave real life experiences into relevance for our attendees – making science practical; the power of observation; customer service (provided to our farmers); partnerships – all tying in with our overall theme of “Foundations for the Future”.


We have had some great feedback, but of course it wouldn't have been so successful without your participation. Our members always get so much from this time they get to share information with their peers and your contribution is hugely appreciated. Some of the comments we had in regard to you were "amazing man", "amazing speaker", "awesome", "what a delightful speaker, WOW!" Speaks for itself really! What more can we say except to thank you once again for entertaining and enthralling our (sometimes hard to please) audience!

Professionals Real Estate Group

Sir Ray Avery is a personable and charming character who provided humorous and interesting tales about his life that were relevant to the audience. Very inspirational and obviously passionate about what he believes.

New Zealand Association of Convenience Stores

He was entertaining, inspiring and hilariously funny. He engaged the audience, and was a wonderful story-teller. The feedback from our staff has been overwhelmingly positive.


Ray was interesting, entertaining and inspiring. He captured the attention of all of our attendees who were a variety of different ages and came from a variety of walks of life.

New Zealand Home Loans

Sir Ray’s presentation had wide appeal for the mixed audience from teenage to elderly. Inspirational stories for all.

Royston Hospital