I keep expecting there to be an easy way to do this (feel free to comment if there is), but I wanted to replicate the BitKeeper bk import -tpatch behaviour with subversion where you can give and diff and it will be imported into the repository. Importantly this involves adding and removing files as per the patch.
I thus wrote svnapply.py to do this. It actually turned out to be a little more in depth than I had hoped, as there are a few nuances with different diff outputs.
I even tested it by importing a 33mb kernel diff, comparing an export of it to a tree patched using the usual patch, and also re-creating the diff and applying it again, again comparing to the normally patched version. It all came out the same.