Posted by: medicinemondiale | 12 January, 2013

Medicine Mondiale’s Sir Ray Avery Talks to Good Morning About ‘The Power of Us’

Here is an interview from Good Morning between Sir Ray Avery and Tamati Coffey (note you will need to click on the link below to watch the video):

Ray Avery Medicine Mondiale

Sir Ray Avery of Medicine Mondiale talks to Good Morning

Below is a transcript of the interview:

Tamati Coffey:

New Zealand is a pretty special country. But scenery aside, a big part of New Zealand is its people. The question ‘what defines a New Zealander?’ is answered in a beautiful book, profiling kiwis from all walks of life. From the big names like Rhys Darby and Neil Finn, to equally talented writers and scientists. The Power of Us is a book for every coffee table, and someone who played quite a big part in the whole process, is Sir Ray Avery, and he joins us now. Welcome to the show.

Sir Ray Avery:

Good Morning.

Tamati Coffey:

What a great book. I’m going to hold it up so that everyone can see it. It’s not a small book, there’s lots in there. Tell me about the four of you that compiled it?

Sir Ray Avery:

Well I was doing a doco with Cameron Bennett and Adrian Malloch, and I recognised them as some adventurers with kindred spirits. So we decided to go on a journey right around New Zealand, to try and find what really defines us as a country. And then I managed to write my wife Anna Kiousis in to schedule the appointments. And that was a massive job, to get all these people to the same place at the same time. I think we were up to 59 different schedules in the end.

Tamati Coffey:

I can only imagine how hard that was. A task of not only co-ordinating schedules, but also coming up with a list. So there’s 50 people in here. How do you come up with 50 of New Zealand’s best?

Sir Ray Avery:

Well I really did want it to be heartland New Zealand, I didn’t want it to be the usual suspects. And I also was trying to find out what really did make us tick. And I think what we found was quite amazing. It wasn’t really that number 8 fencing wire it was really something much more pragmatic. And it’s best exemplified by a guy called Peter Beck. Peter Beck, probably most people have never heard of him, but he’s a young man who’s got a contract with the American government to develop rocket fuel. Now, he went down to the Iraqi gulf, and sent a rocket off into interstellar space, and there’s no other country in the world where you can actually do that without asking people. We have no idea where it landed. And that’s why we are the way we are, we’re a very open source country. And the tagline of the book is the giveaway of what makes us special, and that’s ‘New Zealanders who dare to dream’. Because we can dream, and there’s nothing to stop us. There’s nothing to stop you from putting a rocket into interstellar space, or developing anything you want. And I think the people in this book really epitomise that ‘going for it’ kind of philosophy.

Tamati Coffey:

Is he the person that stood out for you in the book?

Sir Ray Avery:

Well there’s a number. There’s Peter Beck, because he’s a young man and he flies below the radar, but another one would be Bill Buckley. May people don’t know who Bill Buckley is, but he makes 80% of the world’s electromagnets for the chips that go into your cellphone and TV flatscreens. It’s not a company in America, we make 80% of those things here. He makes them in New Zealand, and we don’t know who he is. I also just want to say, this is a time to recognise how clever we are, what clever buggers we are as a country.

Tamati Coffey:

I think so too. It;s all about celebrating us as New Zealanders. You’re actually born in England aren’t you? So you’ve come over here and this has also been a self discovery for you as well, in hearing all of these people’s different stories. The photography was also a part of it that you wanted to show off as well. Talk to me about the images ?

Sir Ray Avery:

Well we wanted to sort of capture the soul of these people, that’s why we made it a black and white rendition, because we wanted it to be an art book, and I think Cameron captured the essence of the people’s personality, but Adrian photographed them while the were being interviewed, and I think it tells a much better story, and it also shows how open source we are. There’s a lovely picture of Susan Devoy in the book, and she’s had her hair shaved off for cancer, and she was quite happy to be photographed without her makeup on, and all that thing. So this is New Zealand unplugged, this is us in the raw, and I think there’s a lot of self pride in this. If you read the book, it’s almost like a management book, because you’ve got 50 plus people who tell you how to be succesful.

Tamati Coffey:

I can’t think of anything better for a coffee table, especially coming into christmas as well. Thank you for joining us Sir Ray Avery.

Sir Ray Avery’s organisation Medicine Mondiale is always looking for more volunteers and donors to help the great work they are doing around the world. To show your support via social media or make a donation, please visit any of the following pages:



  1. I miss Tamati! Great interview by him as usual. Ray Avery seems like a very interesting interviewee too! Hope to see more of Tamati interviewing in the future

  2. The book has great photography and formatted like feature articles in a magazine without all the advertisements. Definitely worth a look! All proceeds go to Medicine Mondiale.

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