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After working for 17 years as a probation officer with the Department of Corrections, Mrs Halalele finished in her role yesterday and will soon embark on a new, completely different path.
Born in Invercargill to Samoan parents, she moved to Oamaru from Wellington with her mother in 1985 and has been based in the Waitaki district ever since.
Educated at Waitaki Girls' High School, she said it was not easy growing up in a town that at the time was home to few Pasifika families.
''It was quite different to what it is like now. We were one of the few Pacific island families here in Oamaru. There weren't many back then in the '80s and '90s. People only started to come a bit later, only in the last 10 years.
After graduating from high school, Mrs Halalele studied social work at the University of Otago, completing a degree in family and community studies.
Shortly after she completed her studies in 2002 she was offered a position at the Department of Corrections as a probation officer in Timaru, commuting each day from Oamaru.
While she did not originally see herself in such a role, her two placements in Dunedin convinced her otherwise.
After a short stint in South Canterbury, Mrs Halalele found herself back in Oamaru when an opportunity within the department presented itself.
''I was actually really keen to get into social policy. I was thinking of relocating to Wellington once I had finished [studying], but the lure of coming home and my family that were back here encouraged me to come home in the end.
''It wasn't the pathway that I had originally envisioned as a start, but after I completed my first placement at probation in Dunedin I quite enjoyed it. I thought I would give the job a crack.''
She said her role at the department was ''quite varied'' and mostly involved conferences with offenders, preparing pre-sentence reports and providing recommendations to sitting judges to help them with their decision-making when sentencing offenders.
That meant Mrs Halalele was more often than not at court on sitting days, an experience she recalled fondly.
''I really enjoyed it. It was quite hair-raising when I first started, having to stand up in front of the judge and read prosecutions and things like that. But I got used to it and it was actually really good practice for public speaking and building up confidence.''
She always found pleasure in not seeing an offender in court after their first visit but that was not always the case, which saddened her.
''It's heartbreaking when you have worked with someone for a period of time and when you are going through the court list you see their name come up again, or they are on a sentence and they come in and say 'I've been caught doing this and this'.
''It's a bit sad but at the same time I think they needed a bit more support at the time, so they night need more than one sentence to get back on track.''
Mrs Halalele always enjoyed seeing people who had turned their lives around, no matter how small the change - whether it be settling down with a new partner, having children or landing a new job.
''That's one of the biggest satisfactions that we have, seeing them come through the system. You might see them around town or in the supermarket and they will come up to you and say 'this is what I'm doing at the moment'. It's really cool that they've managed to maintain an offence-free lifestyle.''
While she enjoyed her role, it was at times difficult to hear some people talking about their run-ins with the law.
''The hardest are probably the ones where we have interviewed people and the victims haven't survived, for example a drink-driver and they have killed someone. It's really heartbreaking.''
Now that she has decided to move on, Mrs Halalele will take up a part-time role with the University of Otago as a social work lecturer, commuting to Dunedin a couple of times a week.
She said she would also be able to dedicate more time to her work with the community groups she is involved with.
Mrs Halalele is president of the Oamaru Pacific Island Community Group and also has roles with the Waitaki Safer Community Trust and community health council, among others.
She planned to run for council in November's local-body elections and if elected, wanted to be a voice for the town's growing Pasifika community.
Her career change also means she will get to spend more time with her family and catch up on some reading.
''I love reading and basically just love hanging out with my family and spending some quality time with my husband and kids whenever possible.''