New Zealander of the Year, Ray Avery, went into Wellington Prison today to speak with prisoners.
The businessman, scientist, entrepreneur, inventor and humanitarian shared stories about his very difficult childhood, how he escaped a life of institutional abuse and how he sought refuge in his love of books and libraries.
“We were very fortunate to have someone as passionate, creative and tenacious as Ray Avery give up his time to come and talk to prisoners and staff,” said Wellington Prison Manager Reti Pearse.
“Ray’s story resonated with prisoners. He really captured their attention and we’re hoping that his visit encourages and inspires them to develop their reading, writing and critical thinking skills.”
As a young teen, Ray ran away from home, living under a bridge for nine months and using books, libraries and galleries as a means of escape. He went to school only occasionally and was largely self-taught.
“His visit may prove to be an inspiration to prisoners who are continuing to develop their love of reading. The story of someone who has come from a disadvantaged background and has ‘made good’ like Ray Avery is a truly motivating one.
“Having copies of his book in the library will not only encourage non fiction reading but make his story more real to the prisoners,” Mr Pearse said.
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