The Power of Us, words by Cameron Bennett, photographs by Adrian Malloch (Random House)
Several years ago, I interviewed Sir Ray Avery for my book 'New Zealand Hall of Fame: 50 Remarkable Kiwis'. His story was especially inspiring as he had come from being an orphan who had lived on the streets of London to a successful businessman who donated much of his time inventing medical equipment for use in third world countries. Before the book went to print he found out he was receiving a knighthood and he kindly told me so the book would be up to date.
Sir Ray Avery decided to write this book with distinguished journalist Cameron Bennett and noted photographer Adrian Malloch while doing a documentary about what defines us as kiws in this country. They chose the 55 people from the heartland of New Zealand - people who were really 'going for it'. They travelled the country interviewing and photographing the "eclectic and accomplished group" of scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, musicians, inventors, dreamers, artists, actors, writers, sportspeople, philanthropists, and change agents - "some well known and some who are well below the radar." They are all high achievers and risk takers.
Examples of some of the people who are not so well known but should be for the amazing work they are doing are: Peter Beck who sent a rocket into space from New Zealand. That probably wouldn't happen in other countries. There is also Bill Buckley who makes 80 percent of the world's electro magnets. Professor Jane Harding, Paediatrician who has been doing pioneering research. And scientist Dr Sean Simpson who has discovered a process that allows the production of low-carbon fuel.
There are also our favourites like Rhys Darby, Oscar Kightley, Witi Ihimaera, Mahe Drysdale, Jeanette Fitzsimons, Vincent Ward, Barbara Kendall, Sam Neill, Annabel Langbein, Neil Finn, Michael Hurst and Dame Susan Devoy. And many more.
Each person shares their life's lessons and give words of wisdom. You'll get advice like:
"Take all opportunities seriously, no matter how small, because things lead to other things, that lead to other things - especially when you're starting off." Rhys Darby, comedian
"Whether you are so self-driven, and genuinely enjoy what you do, you'll happily commit to the long hours because you are aware of the results you want to achieve." Beatrice Faumuina, athlete
"My advice if you're starting out is to have courage. Kia Kaha Kia Manawanui, which means have strength or courage and be a great heart." Witi Ihimaera, author
"Seize the opportunities that are in front of you. Seize change as being a good thing because only good things come from change." Dr Sean Simpson, scientist
Complementing their stories are large black and white photographs shot while they were being interviewed. And that is what makes the photographs special - they're not posed and manage to capture the essence or soul of these people.
It is a stunning book - in hardback, large sized (245mm x 300mm) with 312 pages - no expense spared.
Books that inspire children and adults are a particular favourite of mine. This deserves to be in every High School Library to inspire the next generation of leaders, inventors, scientists, artists and writers.
See an interview with Sir Ray Avery about the book: http://tvnz.co.nz/breakfast-news/paper-plus-sir-ray-avery-video-5208250
ISBN: 9781775530008 RRP $49.99