Shaquille Graham is passionate about the health, well-being and hauora of Māori. He works to improve Aotearoa and tangata Māori through research into well-being issues and inequalities that communities in Aotearoa face, as well as various key roles across the public health sector.
Shaquille is working part-time on his PhD at Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato University of Waikato and working full-time. His current research is looking at the role of wairuatanga in Māori mental health outcomes. He has also completed his master’s with first-class honours. Within these studies, he looked at the relationship between Māori cultural identity loss & Rangatahi Māori suicide. During his master’s research, he also contributed to other papers and research that champion better health for the next generation.
Alongside his PhD studies, Shaquille has been newly appointed Program Lead for Nōku te Ao, Like Minds, within the National Public Health Service of Te Whatu Ora, Health New Zealand. Nōku te Ao is a nationwide multi-level programme, grounded in Te Tiriti o Waitangi and equity, that aims to end prejudice and discrimination against people who experience mental distress.
Shaquille has also recently worked as a Senior Portfolio Manager within Primary and Community Care at Te Aka Whai Ora, the Māori Health Authority, leading and monitoring transformational change for the hauora health and wellbeing needs of whānau Māori, as well as previous mahi as Senior Kaupapa Māori Researcher at Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand, which leads the day-to-day running of the health system across New Zealand delivered at local, district, regional and national levels. Notably, within this work, he co-authored the Nōku te Ao: Sovereignty of the Māori Mind report. This research reframes how we think about Māori mental health and presents a Māori worldview of factors that contribute to discrimination against Māori who live with mental distress.
Shaquille believes that in our responsibility as gatekeepers of the next generation, we must ensure our people and our communities are given the best foot forward to pae ora. He sees his life as a dedication to the servitude and fulfilment of this purpose across all avenues – ‘e kore tēnei whakaoranga e huri ki tua o aku mokopuna.’