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Philip Patston

Managing Director, Diversity New Zealand Ltd

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Kia ora. Welcome. Thanks for visiting.

My purpose is to deepen awareness of diversity in creative, fun, non-threatening ways. My passion is leading change that embraces curiosity and inquiry into diversity, complexity and uncertainty. My vision is a society where all people freely share and celebrate identity and self-expression.

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About me

Born in 1967 I emigrated from the UK to New Zealand aged four with my family. I am the eldest of four siblings: I have a twin brother and two younger sisters.

At birth, I lost oxygen resulting in a neuro-muscular dysfunction with the somewhat ambiguous diagnosis Cerebral Palsy. Despite my parents being told I would never talk, walk or live independently, I started a BA in Psychology, trained as a counsellor and social worker, still run a business and had a 15-year career as a professional comedian. I’ve lived independently since I was 17. Walking? Well, I did that too but gave it up in my forties.

I now develop leadership capacity in the areas of diversity, complexity, uncertainty and change. Diversity New Zealand's team and I work with individuals, teams, organisations, schools, communities and Government. I blog regularly on sociopolitical issues, my work, life and existential crises. I've won awards and stuff that I'm pretty proud of.

As a Caucasian, queer, cisgender man with unique function, I am openly sceptical of current notions of diversity and am vocal about new, constructive paradigms. My diverse experience firmly guides my lifestyle, work style and relationships.

In my leisure time, I enjoy the stimulation of meaningful conversation, the indulgence of red wine; the adrenaline of action, thriller and sci-fi movies; and an eclectic taste in reading. I have also written a significant collection of poetry/lyrics and have put some to music. I am an early adopter of new technology; a pragmatic proponent of social media and a grounded believer in spirituality. I'm also an active advocate of medically-assisted dying and a life-member of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, to whom I provide social media advice.

I became chair of Auckland Council's Disability Advisory Panel in July 2017 and was invited onto the Health Research Council NZ's Development Group in June 2018.

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(Updated July 2017)