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Time to end poverty is now, says Kiwi author

Extreme poverty can and should be eradicated in the 21st century, says recently published author and former World Vision CEO Colin Prentice, visiting Wellington on Wednesday on his book tour.

"It's outrageous that in this day and age, we accept poverty as a legitimate state to live in," says Prentice.

"I've seen extreme poverty first hand, I've seen people lift themselves out of that poverty – with the help of organisations like World Vision – and I know it can be done. The question is whether or not we will make it happen."

Prentice's comments come as the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY coalition tries to get New Zealanders signed up to the idea of eradicating extreme poverty, which kills 30,000 people a day.

The MPH month of mobilisation, supported by celebrities such as Petra Bagust, Dave Dobbyn and Stacey Daniels, runs until World Poverty Day on October 17.

In Prentice's time as CEO of World Vision New Zealand from 1994-2000, he visited more than 30 developing countries, including Rwanda just after the genocide and Kosovo in the aftermath of the war in 1999.

Those countries, the people he met and the projects he oversaw at World Vision cemented Prentice's belief that every individual has the power to make a difference – in fact, he believes it so much he's written a book about it.

When People Matter Most: Vision-Driven Leadership is co-written by Dr Ian Hunter and is told through Prentice's eyes as he became founding principal of Auckland's Macleans College, and led Mt Roskill Grammar to become the top multicultural school in the country.

"After many years of doing what I love," says Prentice, "I have the opportunity to speak to New Zealanders, through my book, about my three loves in life – aid work, leadership and education."

Six years ago, Colin rejoined the education world, working with secondary schools as the director of Auckland University's Schools Partnership. Colin now lectures nationally and internationally on effective teaching, school governance and leadership, making him an author who knows his subject.

Prentice is touring the country this week – members of the public are welcome to his World Vision meetings, where he will speak on his experiences in education and aid and development.

Prentice will speak in Wellington on Wednesday October 11, at Turnbull House in the city at 12.30pm, and in Lower Hutt at the Petone Baptist Church at 7.30pm that evening.


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