Vitale Lafaele

Vitale Lafaele is the eldest son of his hardworking Samoan immigrant family, who arrived in Auckland in the 70s and faced the challenges of life in a new country empowered by values of love, loyalty, and a commitment to dig deep and do what needed to be done. He was one of three of 300 recruits to the New Zealand SAS who made it through the gruelling initiation period and later rose through the New Zealand police force to the rank of Area Commander before a career-ending stroke. In recent years he has presented a TED talk and inspired many through his captivating speeches

2024 festival sessions

A Canoe Before the Wind

Vitale Lafaele in conversation with Tessa Nicholson

6.30pm-7.30pm, Sat 27 July, ASB Theatre Marlborough, $25

Vitale reflects on his memoir A Canoe Before the Wind. The Samoan proverb refers to things that come around quickly, and it is an appropriate metaphor for Vitale’s extraordinary life. Vitale immigrated with his family from Samoa as a child and went on to become a New Zealand SAS soldier, a high-ranking police officer, a respected leader, a family man, and, in recent years, a stroke survivor with many great life insights to share. 

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