Our people

The Social Wellbeing Agency's Executive Leadership Team leads work to improve people's lives.

Renee Graham

Te Tumu Whakarae, Chief Executive

Renee has a track record of delivering strategic policy agendas. She has a strong social policy background and experience across a range of domains, including education and employment. She was appointed as Te Tumu Whakarae, Chief Executive in June 2021.

Prior to this role, she was Secretary for Women and Chief Executive of the Ministry for Women, a position she held since June 2017. She has previously held senior policy roles at the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Social Development.

As Secretary for Women, Renee’s achievements included the development and introduction of an online tool Bringing Gender In – to help policymakers explore and understand the gender impacts of their policies, the development and implementation of an action plan to eliminate the Gender Pay Gap in the public sector, and work to increase the representation of women senior leadership and governance roles across the public and private sectors.

As well as her policy expertise, Renee has experience in operational roles in Work and Income, before moving into project and management positions after starting her career as a frontline case manager. Renee is a skilled public service senior leader who has successfully led the development of solutions to complex policy issues.

Renee is committed to enhancing diversity and inclusion in Aotearoa New Zealand. She is a Trustee of DiversityWorks(external link), a co-sponsor of the Government Women's Network(external link) and she is on the Chief Executives' Rainbow Committee for Public Service.

Renee holds Master of Public Policy (with merit) and Bachelor of Commerce and Administration degrees from Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington.

Renee is of Ngāti Toa and Ngāti Raukawa descent.

Alistair Mason

Deputy Chief Executive, Strategy and Performance

Alistair was appointed Deputy Chief Executive in October 2023. He had previously been Director, Office of the Chief Executive, since February 2020. He has worked with the Social Wellbeing Agency since its establishment as the Social Investment Unit in 2015. 

The Strategy and Performance group oversees strategy and planning, organisational performance, corporate services, Māori advisory, MInisterial engagement, and communications. It provides advice and support to the Social Wellbeing Board and Social Wellbeing Committee.

Alistair spent close to ten years working as Ministerial Advisor for a variety of Ministers, primarily covering social portfolios. This experience has supported Alistair’s passion for improved social sector decision-making and practice.

Alistair has an extensive background in public relations, having worked for some of the world’s leading public relations firms in London, Hong Kong, the UAE, and Wellington.

Aphra Green

Deputy Chief Executive, Policy, Data and Insights

Aphra leads the Policy, Data and Insights Group at the Social Wellbeing Agency. 

The Group brings a collaborative, creative and multi-disciplinary approach to the analysis and use of data and evidence to advise the Government and the Social Wellbeing Board on what will materially improve the lives of New Zealanders.

Aphra is passionate about evidence-based decision-making, and brings a wealth of experience from the social and justice sectors, particularly from her former senior leadership roles in Oranga Tamariki and the Ministry of Justice. She has a Master of Laws and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Public Policy.