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senior_nzerQueenstown-based businessman Sir Eion Edgar was named as the (Ryman Healthcare sponsored) “Senior New Zealander of the year” at the ‘New Zealander of the Year Awards’ gala dinner in Auckland last night (Wednesday 3 February).

Sir Eion said he was “humbled” to be recognised as the Ryman Healthcare Senior New Zealander of the Year in the national awards ceremony.

Sir Eion, 65, won the award for his lifetime of philanthropic service.

“It was an amazing night because it recognised a great variety of people across all sectors of the community, and I was proud to be amongst those,” he said.

Sir Eion said there were many other people who “did a lot of good” who were not always recognised for their work.

“Hopefully this award will alert people to the fact that they can get a lot of pleasure out of helping organisations, as I do.”

Sir Eion said he was looking forward to spending more time working with Queenstown Resort College, of which he is chairman and founder. He is also involved with a full range of education, youth, health, community trusts and financial organisations of which he is either chairman, trustee or board member.

Ryman chief financial officer Gordon MacLeod presented Sir Eion with his award.

“As New Zealand’s leading healthcare and residential provider for seniors, we’re honored to be patron of the Ryman Healthcare Senior New Zealander of the Year Award.

“This unique award gives New Zealanders of all ages the opportunity to express their appreciation and admiration for the outstanding achievements and contributions of our seniors.

“It is fitting for Ryman to sponsor this award, as each of our villages is named after New Zealanders who are held in high regard, either nationally or within the local community where each of our villages is based.

“The nominees were from many and varied walks of life, each presenting a positive image of aging and are role models to the wider community.

Ryman Healthcare congratulates Sir Eion in being named Ryman Healthcare Senior New Zealander of the year 2010.”

Sir Eion Edgar being presented with his award by Gordon MacLeod (L) of Ryman Healthcare, sponsor of the Senior New Zealander of the Year award.

Inventor Ray Avery named New Zealander of the Year

Ray Avery, inventor of medical devices that save the sight and lives of millions of the world’s poor, has been named New Zealander of the Year by Prime Minister John Key.

Sponsored by Kiwibank and awarded for outstanding service, achievement and contribution to the nation, the award celebrates excellence and recognises inspirational New Zealanders.

Ray Avery, 62, is a former street kid turned scientist whose low cost, sustainable medical devices, invented in the garage of his Mount Eden home, are making a difference to millions of the world’s most vulnerable. His creations include intraocular lenses to combat cataract blindness, and the laboratories and technology needed to make them; an intravenous flow controller to prevent fatal drug administration errors, and a high tech low cost, low maintenance incubator that will save lives of premature babies in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa.

All Ray’s products have a global use, both in the developing and developed world, and the demand for them provides ongoing funds for his charity, Medicine Mondiale, which then reinvests them where they are needed most.

Ray was selected ahead of Olympic gold medallist Valerie Vili, and Warehouse founder and philanthropist Sir Stephen Tindall, to receive the premier award at the gala award presentation in Auckland.

In presenting the New Zealander of the Year Award, Prime Minister John Key said, "Ray Avery is a remarkable individual who overcame the odds to become an inspiration to all New Zealanders. This is a man who believed in himself and rose above his circumstances to attain excellence.”

Also honoured at the event were:

Sir Eion Edgar of Otago, named Ryman Healthcare Senior New Zealander of the Year for his lifetime of philanthropic service.

Divya Dhar, 24 of Manukau, named Coca-Cola Amatil Young New Zealander of the Year for campaigning against global poverty and climate change.

Haami (Sam) Tutu Chapman of Manukau, given the Kiwibank Local Heroes Award for his extraordinary work with gangs and communities at risk.

Victory Village in Nelson, given the Mitre 10 Community of the Year Award for creating strong support services for happy and successful communities.

The New Zealander of the Year Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of individuals and communities across New Zealand, and acknowledge the inspirational influence their work has on society. The awards sought nominations from fields including the arts, sport, community and voluntary service, health, public service, the environment, tourism, business, rural, education, entertainment, science, technology and cultural development. Nominations from all New Zealand citizens were welcomed.

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