Ray Avery (scientist)

Avery (left), after his investiture as a Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit by the governor-general, Sir Anand Satyanand, in 2011

Sir Raymond John Avery GNZM (born 1947[1]) is a New Zealand pharmaceutical scientist, inventor, author and social entrepreneur in Mount Eden, Auckland, New Zealand.

Personal lifeEdit

Avery was born in Kent, England.[2] After spending his childhood in orphanages and foster homes, he developed an interest in science at the age of 14 while living rough in London and finding warmth in public libraries.[3] He now mentors young people, speaking regularly at schools and universities.[4] He was later educated at Wye College, a tertiary agricultural college in Kent.[5]

He settled in New Zealand in 1973 and became a New Zealand citizen within nine months.[6] In 2010, Avery published his autobiography Rebel with a Cause, which charts his life from childhood in English orphanages and foster homes to knighthood.[2][5]


After graduating, Avery worked as an analyst in laboratories, in which he eventually took a shareholding.[5] After leaving Britain and settling in New Zealand, he was a founding member of the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Auckland School of Medicine. He was then the technical director of Douglas Pharmaceuticals, where he developed and commercialised pharmaceutical and nutritional products.[7]

As Technical Director of the Fred Hollows Foundation, Avery designed and commissioned two state of the art intraocular lens manufacturing facilities in Asmara, Eritrea and Kathmandu, Nepal, and developed novel low cost lens manufacturing technologies, systems, and global distribution networks. The Fred Hollows Foundation laboratories now provide 13% of the world market for intraocular lenses and use technology invented and gifted by Avery.[8] The mass introduction of regulatory-approved low-cost high-quality Fred Hollows lenses collapsed the global price of lenses, making modern cataract surgery accessible to the world's poorest.

In 2003, Avery founded the international development organisation Medicine Mondiale dedicated to making quality healthcare and equipment accessible to even the poorest developing nations around the world.[9]

In 2009, Avery received a World Class New Zealand Award [10] in the Life Sciences category.

Sir Ray is co–founder of Jupl NZ Ltd, a medical technology company.[11]


Avery’s inventions include:[12]

Medicine MondialeEdit

Medicine Mondiale is an independent development agency headed by Ray Avery focused on improving life for the world's poor by developing products and technologies that have applications in both the developing and developed world markets.


Intraocular lensesEdit

Between 1993 and 1997 Ray Avery designed and commissioned two state-of-the-art intraocular lens laboratories in Eritrea and in Nepal. Together these labs now supply 10% of the world market for intraocular lenses and together with the efforts of other generic lens manufacturers have collapsed the price of lenses from over US$300 in 1992 to around US$6 today. As a result, cataract surgery is now available to the very poorest around the world.

Acuset IV flow controllerEdit

The Acuset is a small device designed to control the flow of drugs through an intravenous (IV) drip. Unlike roller-clamp device still commonly used in the developing world, the Acuset is intuitive to use, even by untrained operators. It allows fine control and precision of flow rates, eliminating the accidental harm, and in some cases death, caused by incorrect drug doses.[7] In 2008 the Acuset was a finalist in the Saatchi & Saatchi World Changing Ideas Awards.[16]

Infant nutritionEdit

Medicine Mondiale has developed a range of nutritional productions for the treatment of protein-energy malnutrition.[17] These are designed to combat acute diarrhoea, which is the leading cause of death in infants under two years of age in the developing world.[15]

Infant incubatorEdit

The Lifepod infant incubator is a low cost but high end incubator invented by Sir Ray Avery.[18] The incubator is designed around performance, ease of use and simple maintenance in challenging conditions, such as in poorly resourced healthcare facilities with inconsistent power and water supplies.

Much of the incubator's features have been designed in response to shortcomings in many current incubator designs, which are not always effective or practical in challenging conditions.

By combining an innovative microbial filtration system, as well as robust electronics and mechanisms, Medicine Mondiale intend for the Liferaft infant incubator to be a 'plug and play' solution for neonatal healthcare facilities, requiring little or no maintenance.[14]


Avery has published two books: the best-selling Autobiography “Rebel with a Cause” [19] charting his life from street kid to Knighthood and “The Power of Us” [20] celebrating New Zealanders who dare to dream.


Avery has received awards including:

Year Award Notes
2008 Rotary Paul Harris Medal
2008 Bayer Research and Development Innovator Award Acuset flow controller
2009 World Class New Zealand Award for Biotechnology
2010 TBWA Disruption Award
2010 KiwiBank New Zealander of the Year[3] For designing technology used to produce low-cost intraocular lenses
2010 Sir Peter Blake Leadership Medal[21]
2011 Ernst and Young Social Entrepreneur Award
2011 Readers Digest New Zealand's Most Trusted Person
2011 Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit[22] For his services to philanthropy


  1. ^ "Ray Avery". Radio New Zealand. 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Lessons from mean streets of London". The New Zealand Herald. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b New Zealander of the Year Awards Archived 23 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Inspiring Kiwis: Ray Avery. Television New Zealand.
  5. ^ a b c "One Kiwi's determination to make a difference". Scoop. 29 July 2010.
  6. ^ "Great end to glorious Christmas". The New Zealand Herald. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  7. ^ a b Collins, Simon (1 December 2004). "NZ man aids millions with 15c water drip invention". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  8. ^ "No respect for the status quo". Committee for Auckland.
  9. ^ "About Medicine Mondiale". Medicine Mondiale.
  10. ^ World Class New Zealand 2009 Winners Archived 27 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Kea New Zealand.
  11. ^ "Expertise, leadership and experience". Jupl. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  12. ^ Poor fortune :: Idealog Archived 9 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Acuset IV Flow Controller". Medicine Mondiale. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Infant incubator". Medicine Mondiale. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  15. ^ a b "Infant nutrition". Medicine Mondiale. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  16. ^ "World Changing Ideas award finalists announced". Saatchi & Saatchi. 22 January 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  17. ^ "Proteinforte predigested protein formulations". Maternova. 6 August 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Medicine Mondiale". Hugh Green Foundation. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  19. ^ "Rebel with a Cause" Penguin Books
  20. ^ "The Power of Us Beattie's Book Blog
  21. ^ Sir Ray Avery. Sir Peter Blake Trust.
  22. ^ "New Year honours list 2011". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2018.

External linksEdit