Philip Patston is the founder and Managing Director of Diversityworks, a multi-faceted enterprise that includes a business group offering expertise in managing diversity and change, and a charitable trust that runs projects to improve diversity and professional participation in the arts.
He is also a Director of Manawanui in Charge Ltd, New Zealand’s first individualised funding agency which helps disabled people to manage their own disability support.
Philip has been performing as a professional comedian for the last fifteen years. He founded the International Guild of Disabled Artists and Performers, and was the Creative Director of Giant Leap, New Zealand’s first international disability arts festival held in 2005.
As a human rights activist, conference speaker, consultant, and mentor, Philip has taken leadership in fostering new ways of thinking and acting on disability and welfare support issues.
He passionately advocates the concept of "functional diversity" as an alternative to labels that classify people as "impaired", "disabled" and/or "normal". His unique concept of “social synergy” suggests a step forward in the understanding of diversity to create better welfare outcomes.
He is also working for change in ways that demonstrate “collaborative autonomy” — a different way of looking at the relationships involved in home-based and independent living support.
Philip has also created educational resources for school children which raise awareness and prevent stigma caused by misinformation about disability and functional diversity.