Their work could be one of New Zealand's best-kept secrets.

David Cowie and his American wife, Linda, have spent 50 years changing the lives of thousands around the world but few have heard of their endeavours.

They're co-founders of Marine Reach which has operated a medical ship in and around the Pacific and Caribbean, and a million-dollar Family Care Centre in Vanuatu. The couple also founded the international charity, Ruel Foundation, which has helped hundreds of needy Filipino children. They don't have paid jobs and are instead financed by interested friends, family and churches.

In his own words, Cowie's an

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