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SAS Soldier, Police Commander, Leadership Coach, Author & TEDx Speaker

Don’t ask yourself can I do it, ask yourself why not?

Vitale Lafaele’s life journey started in Grey Lynn his family migrating from Samoa in the 1960s. He left school without any qualifications, his first job a labourer in South Auckland.

Life meandered along until a defining moment in 1983. Vitale answered a recruiting campaign for the first NZ SAS civilian intake. Over 300 applicants walked off the street into the gruelling 16-month selection cycle. Vitale was one of four who were badged and by 2020 only 12 have passed the civilian intake.
Vitale spent 7 years in the SAS and joined Police where he served for 30 years. He rose through the ranks to Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) Commander, Special Tactics Group (STG) Tactical Commander, and Area Commander Counties Manukau. Under his leadership, tactical squads deployed in some of the most nationally significant events such as the Napier siege, Urewera anti-terrorist raids, and the New Lynn hostage rescue.

Sadly, Vitale suffered major health issues and had to leave Police. His world came crashing down now disabled and unemployed which led to an 18-month journey as he navigated his new life.

In 2018, Vitale reset gaining fulltime employment and launching his keynote speaking and executive leadership business. In 2023 he was appointed Principal Advisor Leadership & Culture in the Public Sector, coaching and mentoring senior leadership teams in the largest Government agency in New Zealand.

Vitale’s journey is fascinating, powerful, and impactful. His story so compelling he was invited to keynote as a TEDx speaker in 2021. In 2022 he was approached to share his story by Harper Collins NZ, his autobiography released in August 2023 is titled: A Canoe Before the Wind - An Immigrant Son's Story of Family, Adversity and Courage.

Vitale is the only Polynesian to command the Armed Offenders Squad, Special Tactics Group Anti-Terrorist Squad and Dignitary VIP Protection Squad. He is a keynote speaker and accredited business mentor with the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

A sincerely inspiring conversation of real-life situations at our conference which I am sure all will find relatable. In all types of sales, the biggest thing needed right now is resilience and having a plan. All types of businesses will come away with learnings to improve the business bottom line. Vitale, you are an inspirational leader. Barfoot & Thompson

Vitale is a fantastic people leader with an outstanding pedigree. His ability to mentor, guide and advise is second to none. He has the great ability to communicate across a broad range of stakeholders which allows him to communicate and engage with all walks of life. His delivery is outstanding, and his credentials are rock solid. Vitale adds real value to any business he engages with.

Westpac NZ Ltd

Vitale facilitated an outstanding workshop on authentic leadership centred around the intersection of purpose and identity. His inclusive nature resulted in a highly engaging team building session for our diverse team. Vitale created a safe space that allowed all to explore the alignment of personal values and purpose with that of the organisation.

Pacific Media Network

As South Auckland’s largest estate agency operating at the highest Award level of our international brand, we identified Vitale as being ideally suited to speaking to our team about leadership, culture, morale, and mindset. What a compelling presentation that over-delivered on expectations! Vitale captured the minds and imagination of our members through stories and illustrations carved on the anvil of experience that uniquely belong to someone of his pedigree (Vitale’s credentials go without saying). The impact on our members was discernible and lasting, in part because the content was so naturally delivered while being profoundly applicable, but also because of Vitale’s capacity to engage on every level, from our newest members to the most seasoned campaigners, and management. I simply cannot recommend Vitale highly enough.

Ray White Manukau

What an amazing treat you gave us last night at our Awards ceremony. Your story connected with a lot of our team. The General Manager was absolutely impressed by you. I can’t thank you enough and I think you have unlocked some thinking in our team and put dreams within reach. Keep doing what you’re doing Vitale because it’s going to change thinking and change lives.

SKYCITY Auckland

Thanks Vitale, I found your talk and message you shared to be valuable and inspiring. Making decisions based on personal values is a key element to strong leadership. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Bakels Edible Oils (NZ) Ltd

Vitale exceeded expectation. He portrayed the message perfectly and added his own humour and background to it which was really appreciated. It was great for him to stay briefly after as well and allow our crowd to speak with him one on one!

Livestock Improvement Corporation

Vitale was incredible! What a man! Thanks so much!

Master Electricians NZ
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