Dr Shemana Cassim

Research Fellow

Qualifications: BSc (Melbourne, Aus); MAppPsyc(Comm); PhD (Waikato)

Research Interests

Shemana has an interest in the cultural, social and community factors involved in health and illness, and how cultural, historical and social contexts, inter-group relations and societal structures influence the health of migrant and/or Indigenous groups. In 2017, Shemana completed her PhD exploring how Sri Lankan migrants in New Zealand negotiate processes of settlement and adaptation in their new home in ways that can enhance their sense of belonging and thus their overall well-being. Key issues considered include, collective identity maintenance, places of belonging, and the importance of food-related practices in maintaining cultural links and facilitating social networks in migrants’ everyday lives.

Recently, Shemana has been involved in multiple community health research projects aimed at promoting equitable health outcomes for Māori as well as migrant communities.

At present, Shemana holds a Research Fellowship with Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, and is also a Research Fellow on a 2020 MBIE Endeavour Fund project, Tikanga in Technology.

About Me

Shemana has a background in Community Psychology. While her intellectual roots are located in general social, health and indigenous psychologies, she takes an interdisciplinary approach to health research.

Shemana is a co-convenor of the Aotearoa Migration Research Network, an executive council member of CEAD, and on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology.


Culture; Health; Migration; Psychology; Social Science Research

Recent Publications

  • Chepulis, L., Morison, B., Cassim, S., Norman, K., Keenan, R., Paul, R., & Lawrenson, R. (2021). Barriers to Diabetes Self-Management in a Subset of New Zealand Adults with Type 2 Diabetes and Poor Glycaemic Control. Journal of Diabetes Research, 2021. doi:10.1155/2021/5531146

  • Cassim, S., Kidd, J., Keenan, R., Middleton, K., Rolleston, A., Hokowhitu, B., . . . Lawrenson, R. (2021). Indigenous perspectives on breaking bad news: ethical considerations for healthcare providers. Journal of Medical Ethics. doi:10.1136/medethics-2020-106916

  • Masters-Awatere, B., Cassim, S., Tamatea, J., Scott, N., Simpson, C., & Paekau, C. (2021). He Pikinga Waiora Kimi Ora lifestyle programme: case study of a successful community-based Indigenous diabetes intervention. The New Zealand Medical Journal, 134(1545), 68-78.

  • Kidd, J., Cassim, S., Rolleston, A., Chepulis, L., Hokowhitu, B., Keenan, R., . . . Lawrenson, R. (2021). Hā Ora: secondary care barriers and enablers to early diagnosis of lung cancer for Māori communities. BMC Cancer, 21(1). doi:10.1186/s12885-021-07862-0 Open Access version:

Find more research publications by Shemana Cassim