Nevertheless Co-Directors, Shaq & Maia


Nevertheless was co-founded by Shaqaila Uelese & Maia Wati-Cooper in March 2021. We have both experienced Mental Health challenges at some stage of our lives, nevertheless, everyone's journey looks different.  What may have helped one person, might not help others.  Therefore, we would like to share insights into our Mental Health journeys which continue today.


My Mental Health journey has been a rollercoaster.  Having grown up in a religious, Māori/Pasifika family Mental Health was not spoken of often.  I’ve experienced seasons of severe depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts/attempts and have often felt misunderstood.  With the help of loved ones, medication, pastoral care and health professionals, I am here.  I value Mental Health so much that I am studying to be a counsellor.  If you feel the way I have and sometimes feel today, please know you are not alone.  There is help and hope available.  Nevertheless was created especially for you.  


The fear of even letting someone know I was struggling with my Mental Health was daunting enough.  And the fact that no one around seemed to talk about it, brought a stigma that made me feel helpless and alone.  Reaching out for help is not in my nature and I know a lot of Māori & Pasifika people can relate.  Mental Health was not always a priority growing up, instead education and physical health came first.  This meant that self-love wasn’t on the radar.  Today, I’m eager to change the narrative and now see self-love and mental health as an essential part of my life.  I’m still on my Mental Health journey but hopefully my experience helps someone to know that no matter what you’ve been through, you are enough and never the less.  


1 in 4 NZ adults experience poor mental well-being. Māori & Pasifika people are disproportionately represented in this category. We live in a world where people often seek validation for their existence from external sources such as social media and others opinions. Our vision for Nevertheless is to redefine the way people view and validate themselves.  We want to destigmatize Mental Health by encouraging self-love as a priority.  All of our designs are intentionally reversed to encourage people to look in the mirror and seek validation from within.  It is our hope that through our products, we can help others to see and share love through a whole new lens.  Nevertheless was created for anyone who has felt less than, it’s for anyone who has ever felt marginalised, unloved, isolated, anxious or even happy, loved, peace and filled with joy.  Nevertheless is about self-care and taking care of your mind and heart the same way we are encouraged to take care of our bodies.  Please remember that you are worthy of love, you are more than enough, you are strong and important and you define your success.  You deserve to be happy and NEVER THE LESS.


Thank you for supporting our kaupapa,  

Shaq & Maia