Kia ora and welcome
Diversity New Zealand is a business and social enterprise led by social entrepreneur and former comedian Philip Patston.
We provide expert, professional consulting services and run high-quality, online projects.
Everything we do increases the capacity of people and organisations to excel in the areas of diversity, complexity, change and leadership.
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Founder/Managing Director, Diversity New Zealand Ltd
Philip has over 25 years professional experience in counselling, social work, creative and social entrepreneurship as well as leadership.
In October 2015, Philip was named one of the Top 10 diversity consultants in the inaugural Global Diversity List, the first ever assessment of the world’s leading authorities on diversity (media release).
In July 2014, he was awarded the Inaugural Arts Access Accolade, which recognises the lifetime achievements of an individual who has played a significant role in working with Arts Access Aotearoa to achieve its vision of a society where all people in New Zealand can participate in the arts.
Add to all this a fifteen-year career as a professional, award-winning comedian (1997-2012) and you get the feeling he may be very confused.
But he's not. Philip's diverse professional career, combined with the somewhat paradoxical life experience as a gay, caucasian man with unique function (disability), allows us to offer our clients a deep and leading understanding of diversity, complexity and change, infused with fun and laughter.
Meet the rest of Diversity New Zealand's team
Meet our top notch team, associates and partner organisations
Sam has been Philip’s Executive Assistant since 2014. He previously worked with Diversityworks Trust as the illustrator for the kids book, “My Friend is a Superhero!”, as well as designing the exhibition poster for our 100 Days Project in 2013. He is also one of Philip’s Morning Crew, who assist Philip with his personal, domestic and travelling needs.
Sam’s been drawing since he was a little girl. He wants to live in a world where all our differences, nuances and complexities are celebrated. As a comic artist he’s been showcased in featured in national and international publications including Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, DUDE and Bitch Magazine. Recently, his Gender and Sexuality 101 comic was also used in the Human Rights Commission resource Born Free and Equal.
When he’s not drawing his autobiographical webcomic Rooster Tails, you can find him working and volunteering at mental health, disability, and social change organisations.
Social Media Moderator
Anna has been a project manager for DPSN since it began in 2009. In 2014 her role shifted to Social Media Moderator for DPSN.
Anna has a physical disability, but doesn’t let it dictate her life. Anna enjoys social change in action and she views DPSN as a vehicle for promoting and supporting communities, cultures and diverse perspectives within the arena of social change.
Anna also works at AUT University as the Student Advisor - Disability specialist, an Executive Advisor to the Rainbow Youth board and co-chair on the Auckland regional Local Advisory Committee to CCS Disability Action. Furthermore, Anna successfully completed the Be. Leadership programme in its inaugural year, 2011.
Online Project Manager
Barbara has a Masters in Health Science and is a registered Counselling Psychologist. When not online for Diversity NZ, she specialises in supporting clients with substance use concerns. As a regular blogger for DPSN, Barbara enjoys debating issues of diversity across all areas of society, but particularly in relation to mental health and addictions.
Barbara has contributed to both published academic research and a fictional book through her work with Diversity NZ. In 2012 Barbara and Philip together wrote and published a children's book "My Friend is a Superhero!", which aims to reframe disability through the lens of functional diversity, influencing children (and their parents) away from negative stereotypes.
Philip and Barbara have also completed an action-research study on portrayals of disability in the media, which was published in a special issue of The Journal of Popular Television ("Is New Zealand ready for more diversity on-screen? (2015), 3:2, pp. 277-285").
DIV:INQ Co-creator, Epsom Girls Grammar School
Jeannie has worked with Philip since 2008 developing and running DIV:INQ (Diversity Inquiry) at Mt Roskill Grammar School (MRGS) and Epsom Girls Grammar School (EGGS).
Jeannie is Head of Counselling at EGGS and was formerly a counsellor at MRGS. She is a keen cyclist and blogger, with an interest in creative thinking. Like Philip, she’s a big fan of The Matrix and the idea that all may not be what we think it is.
DIV:INQ encourages creative thinking and acceptance via a student-led exploration of values, beliefs and assumptions about diversity. Jeannie regularly invites Philip to work with EGGS’ peer mediators, and student and staff leadership teams.
Leadership Development Consultant
Lesley has a long history in leadership development with individuals, organisations and communities. She started her adult life by training to be a teacher. She has worked as a community worker – initiating and setting up community programmes and has held senior human resource and organisational development roles.
Lesley was the inaugural Chief Executive of Leadership New Zealand between 2005 and 2008. She now works as a consultant on leadership, people and organisational development.
Ideas that Change
BORDERLESS believes that through unlocking and inspiring positive action, we make our communities and world a better place.
Their boutique social change company is committed to driving thinking and actions through ideas, films, programmes and campaigns. They work with and for a range of businesses, organisations and individuals throughout the world.
BORDERLESS’ Foundation ensures and promotes an ongoing legacy for all Borderless film and campaign projects.
In every way we need, for everything we dream, we can Be.
Philip has been part of Be. Accessible since its launch in 2011, co-designing and currently co-directing Be. Leadership.
Be. Accessible is a New Zealand social change initiative and a holistic framework for accessibility with a mission to create a truly accessible country for us all.
Be. Accessible is managed by the Be. Institute, a social enterprise that aims to work across all sectors and communities throughout New Zealand. The belief is that every person has their part to play in the creation of accessibility regardless of how big or small the change.
Arts Access Aotearoa
Encouraging all to create
Philip has worked with Arts Access Aotearoa since 2000, running workshops, contributing to publications and, most recently, co-ordinating its Auckland Arts Advocacy programme. In 2014 he was presented with the inaugural Arts Access Accolade.
Arts Access Aotearoa | Whakahauhau Katoa o Hanga advocates for people in New Zealand who experience barriers to participation in the arts, as both creators and audience members, working with people with physical, sensory or intellectual impairments; individuals and organisations in the community and professional arts sectors; and mental health service users.
We are experts and leaders in the areas of diversity, complexity and change – and you'll have fun working with us
Working with you through conversation
Looking to develop leadership capacity in the areas of diversity, complexity and change? Start by having us lead you in new conversations. Then we'll develop in others the capacity to continue them. We work with individuals, teams, organisations, schools, communities and Government.
We draw on a diverse range of skills when working with clients, including:
For more information, please contact us »
Raising awareness of a changing world
Let us introduce you to new ways to think about yourself and others. Society is changing with greater and greater speed. Cultures are becoming more and more intermingled; gender and sexual identity have never been binary but are now far more openly fluid; and the complexity of our ability to function is increasing as we live longer due to technological and medical advancement.
We acknowledge the increasing complexity and rapid change occurring in humanity. We offer ways to accept who we are now — very different yet similar to who we were, just years ago. We lead new conversations that enhance peace and love; that eradicate fear, hate and misunderstanding.
Additionally, inter-disciplinary and cross-sectorial working is becoming more and more commonplace, so we help our clients learn new ways to communicate and collaborate in their professional lives.
For more information, please contact us »
Keynotes and participatory presentations
Presenting you with new ideas about diversity, complexity and change
Experience Philip's witty and engaging yet apposite and revealing public speaking, a keynote or participatory presentation. They have informed TEDxAuckland (view Philip's TEDTalk); Auckland Careers and Transition Educators; St John Ambulance Regional Managers and its leadership team; community arts practitioners; mental health, disability and addiction services; and more.
At the end of Philip’s keynotes and participatory presentations, audiences have:
And everyone's had a lot of fun. For more information, please contact us »
What others say
Comments from 2015 Leadership New Zealand participants
"Philip, you awesome, fabulous man. You say it how it is and speak truths that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to. I particularly enjoyed our post panel conversations. I felt very honoured to spend that time with you."
"Very impressive. Philip's insight and responses were outstanding."
"Thank you for the leadership and challenge you bring to the creative discourse. I was left with a lot to think about, particularly about your insights into how some artists are funded and some are told to get a real job. Who decides who is valid is such an important question in so many facets of power and relationship. I also valued being able to discuss the media and the dwindling examples of robust analysis and debate."
"Thank you for spending your valuable time with us, Philip - the impact of who chooses to fund our creative initiatives in NZ is having an effect on our identity."
"Your thoughtful exposition of the paradoxes of our world really resonated with me; much of what you said we can do something about; we could all use more Te Reo in our day to day engagements with each other. Thanks for your time and energy, Philip."
We regularly donate to the following causes, people and projects – check them out and show them some love, too
Working around the world and in New Zealand
Save the Children saves children's lives. They fight for their rights. They help them fulfil their potential. Child rights are at the heart of all that they do for children. By ensuring that governments fulfil children’s rights, they achieve positive outcomes for children.
Not all kids have the same start in life
The KidsCan Charitable Trust was founded in 2005 on the belief that education equals opportunity, and every child, regardless of their socio-economic background, should have an equal chance. We particularly like KisdCan's Food for Kids programme, currently providing targeted food at school for thousands of financially disadvantaged children every day.
Making homes violence free
Shine provides a range of effective, practical and innovative services to achieve its mission to stop domestic abuse in New Zealand. Shine directly helps thousands of adult and child victims every year to become safe and stay safe through frontline services, and indirectly helps thousands more every year through professional training programmes.
Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge
The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual, educational content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge.
Creating Digital Smartness
The official magazine of The Venus Project, which proposes an alternative vision of what the future can be if we apply what we already know in order to achieve a sustainable new world civilization.
These are videos used by Philip
Epsom Girls Grammar School Peer Mediators 2012 ongoing
What's really going on?
Epsom Girls Grammar School Leadership 2012 ongoing
Leadership – who is it about?
Constructive Functional Diversity
AUT Rehab lecture 2010 ongoing
How can we create a new, enabling mindset and language of rehabilitation?
Competencies and attributes — user perspective
Home and Community Health Assn conference 2015
Is the support we offer what people really need...or want?
From diversity to inclusion
Auckland Careers and Transition Educators conference 2015
Is inclusion really embracing diversity?
NASC from a client’s perspective
Needs Assessment and Service Co-ordination Assn conference 2015
Is NASC what people really need...or want?
Thinking outside the box to create change
University of Auckland Social innovation and Social Justice conference 2015
What is really needed to create social change?
Label Libel: A new look at diversity
Video and slides
DIV:INQ (Diversity Inquiry) for students
University of Auckland Medical Students 2010 ongoing
How can we think differently about patients with disability?
DIV:INQ (Diversity Inquiry) for organisations
EEO Trust ~2011
How does your organisation respond to the new opportunities diversity offers?
Stranger in a Strange Land
The concept of "grokking" – to fully understand
Conversation card 1
Feedback for groups
Conversation card 2
Feedback for groups
Constructive Functional Diversity
Disability and Rehabilitation Journal 2007
This article presents a more dynamic and constructive paradigm than the current dominant ones (for example medical or social models), to describe and change the impact of impairment and disability.