Monday, June 28, 2010

Ray Avery awarded the Blake Medal for Leadership

Last Friday night, Ray Avery was awarded this year’s Peter Blake Medal for Leadership, New Zealand’s premier leadership honour. Also the current Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year, Avery is literally saving millions of lives in the developing countries through invention, entrepreneurship, ground-breaking technology and his unrelenting determination that “one man can change the world” and make it a better place for the most vulnerable.

We’ll be hearing a lot more about this extraordinary Kiwi because Random House has Ray’s heart-breaking, candid and often laugh-out-loud funny memoir, ‘Rebel with a Cause’, coming out 13 August. Random publicist Jennifer Balle is promising an emotional roller-coaster of a read. She says Ray’s childhood could be straight out of a Dickens’ classic or ‘Angela’s Ashes. British-born to alcoholic and violent parents who never wanted him, he suffered the most appalling parental abuse and neglect. His mother even tried to sell him at one point. He eventually became a ward of the state where he was shuffled from orphanage to orphanage, foster home to foster home enduring yet more abuse associated with this type of institutional care. As a young teen he ran away and lived rough under a bridge for months and science museums, libraries, art galleries and books became his sanctuary. An inspirational teacher recognised Ray’s natural genius and took the teenager under his wing. With his encouragement, Ray eventually enrolled at the Wye research institute and he went on to become a scientist, a millionaire, a very successful businessman and now someone who literally does help to change the world.

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