• About us

    We are passionate about leading change that embraces curiosity and inquiry into diversity, complexity and uncertainty – and we'll share that passion and ability with you, too.


    We offer our clients a deep and leading understanding of diversity, complexity, uncertainty and change, infused with fun and laughter.

    Philip Patston - photo

    Diversity New Zealand Ltd was founded in September 2001 by Philip Patston, after he had been self-employed for three years.

    Philip has over 25 years professional experience in counselling, social work, human rights promotion, creative and social entrepreneurship, as well as leadership. He also had a thirteen-year career as a professional, award-winning comedian (1997-2010).

    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). He was put on the list again in 2016.


    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.

    Philip is also a Leadership New Zealand Fellow (2012) and a New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellow (2007-2009). He spoke at TEDxAuckland in July 2012 about his unique approach to diversity.


    Philip's diverse professional career combines with the somewhat paradoxical life experience as a gay, caucasian man with unique function (disability), which is the foundation for our leading approach in the work we do.

  • Meet the rest of Diversity New Zealand's team

    Meet our top notch team, associates and collaborative organisations

    Sam Orchard - photo

    Sam Orchard

    Executive Assistant

    Sam has been Diversity New Zealand’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, assisting with personal, domestic and travelling needs.


    Sam is a queer trans man who 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 - you can read his comics at Rooster Tails.

    Anna Nelson - photo

    Anna Nelson

    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.

    Barbara Pike - photo

    Barbara Pike

    Online Project Manager

    Barbara is the Online Project Manager for DPSN. She also worked as Diversity New Zealand’s Executive Assistant from 2010 to 2014.


    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").

    Jeannie Grant - photo

    Jeannie Grant

    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.

    Lesley Slade - photo

    Lesley Slade

    Leadership Development Consultant

    Lesley is co-Director of Be. Leadership with Philip. She also advised and co-led Diversityworks Trust’s Unique Business self-employment programme.


    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.

    Borderless - logo


    Ideas that Change

    BORDERLESS worked with us on Philip’s music video, Unique Extras and the More Diversity on Screen campaign.


    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.

    Be. Accessible - logo

    Be. Accessible 

    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 - logo

    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.

  • Giving

    We regularly donate to the following causes, people and projects – check them out and show them some love, too!

    nous - Neuro-Operated Utility System

    Neuro-Oper​ated Utility System

    Philip is a shareholder of nous – a solution that enables an entirely ‘physical-free’ access method for communication and other computer applications. designed by Thought-Wired.

    Supporting New Zealand's most vulnerable children

    Monthly contributions mean a sponsored child has access to the essentials like basic clothing, shoes, stationery or a uniform for school, warm bedding, medicine and the chance take part in activities like school camp they might otherwise miss out on.

    Save the Children - logo

    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.

    KidsCan - logo

    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.

    Shine - logo

    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.

    Rooster Tails - logo

    Celebrating difference with nerdy queer and trans comics

    On Patreon

    Sam Orchard is a queer transman who's been drawing comics since he was a little girl. When he's not being Philip's EA, he draws an autobio webcomic called Rooster Tails, about him, his genderqueer partner and their cat.

    Elan kissing Rafa - pencil drawing

    Where it is always midnight at the oasis

    On Patreon

    A writer and illustrator of boy love webcomics! Philip especially loves Elan Meets Rafa.

    Adam Westbrook - photo

    Making video essays

    On Patreon

    Adam makes video essays that tell stories about our past and our future, using the fabric of film form to convey fascinating, surprising ideas. He runs delve.tv

    TROM logo

    Creating Digital Smartness

    On Patreon

    TROM is a project that aims to showcase in detail the root causes of most of today’s problems and proposes realistic solutions to solve those problems. But it is also about challenging people’s values, explaining in simple language how the world works, and providing free and good quality educational materials/tools for everyone.

    Creating psychedelic videos

    On Patreon

    PsychedSubstance's Adam says, "Expanding conscious awareness is my only goal. Society has a lot of backwards concepts. If I can help you think for yourself instead of always believing what you've been told then my job is done."


    Check out PsychedSubstance's YouTube channel.

    Keep it free

    The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organisation that supports Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects. Our mission is to build the most accessible and comprehensive source of free knowledge in the world.

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