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Avery GNZM

New Zealander of the Year 2010.


Sir Ray Avery GNZM is a successful Scientist, author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

Ray is an internationally recognised charismatic and entertaining public speaker who challenges everyone to “Dream Big.” A former street kid Ray went on to become an internationally recognised scientist and entrepreneur.

A founding member of the Auckland University Department of Clinical Pharmacology and former Technical Director of Douglas Pharmaceuticals Sir Ray made a significant contribution in the development of New Zealand’s Pharmaceutical industry.

Working throughout Africa and Asia and exposed to the raw and real shortcomings in healthcare, Ray was determined to use his knowledge to tackle big health issues endemic throughout the developing world.

As Technical director of the Fred Hollows Foundation Sir Ray made high-quality low-cost Cataract lenses available to the poorest of the poor, restoring the sight of millions of people around the globe.

Sir Ray has lived in New Zealand for 50 years but much of this time he has spent delivering healthcare solutions throughout Africa and Asia.
In 2011 Sir Ray was made a Grand Knight companion, which is the highest Knighthood in NZ for his services to philanthropy and the same year, he was voted the most trusted person in NZ by a reader’s digest pole.

In October 2022 Sir Ray moved his family to Sydney Australia so he could be closer to his wife’s Greek Australian family and Sir Ray say’s “he’s loving it mate”.

Talking Points

Inspirational Speaking Engagements : Sir Ray’s journey from street kid to knighthood.

Beaten unconscious by his mother at the age of 7 Sir Ray was taken into “care” and spent the next seven years in orphanages, foster homes, and halfway houses where abuse and neglect were on the menu daily.

Sir Ray practiced running away first for a day then a week and then at the age of 14 he ran away for good and set up home under a railway bridge in East London and this is where he says his life began. Ray plots his journey from under the railway bridge to starting successful businesses and living the high life with fast cars and fast women. He then gives it all away and spends most of his time and money providing affordable healthcare solutions to the poorest of the poor.

Sir Ray’s story is inspiring and Ray provides practical solutions for dealing with adversity and he dances effortlessly between hilarious and thought-provoking stories leaving audiences happy and inspired.

How to create a successful: The key ingredients and strategies for a company to become successful and build unassailable teams to beat the competition.

The key ingredients and strategies for a company to become successful and build unassailable teams to beat the competition.

Sir Ray has over 50 years’ experience setting up a range of successful business enterprises ranging from FMCG ,SaaS , Pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing and building and construction companies.

Ray provides a litmus test on how to determine if the business is likely to be a success by applying a risk analysis process through to building the business at scale and getting and inspiring the best talent and implementing the best brand , marketing strategies.

After dinner speaking engagements

Sir Ray is a very entertaining sophisticated after-dinner speaker that adapts his after-dinner performance to the mood of the audience, making sure they are entertained minute by minute.

In the style of comedian Michael McIntyre Ray draws on his extraordinary world travel experiences to tell stories from war-torn countries to provincial towns in NZ and Australia what makes Australian and New Zealand cultures unique.

Ray leaves audiences in tears of laughter.
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”. DairyNZ

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

Very engaging and relatable. The audience were in awe.

NZIQS Annual Conference

Great speaker, approachable and prepared to make everyone's night enjoyable. Incredibly passionate!

New Zealand Society of Accountants
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