Fam­ily dev­as­tated after Mauao memo­rial seat de­faced

Bay of Plenty Times - - LOCAL NEWS - Plenty Times Bay of

A Bay fam­ily has been left dev­as­tated after some­one de­faced their loved one’s memo­rial seat at an iconic Mount Maun­ganui spot.

The Shuen fam­ily in­stalled the memo­rial seat on Mauao’s base track in mem­ory of Adrian Stan­ley Shuen, who died sud­denly in 2003 after hav­ing a heart at­tack at work at Bakels in the Mount.

He was 31 and left be­hind a wife and two chil­dren.

Adrian’s sis­ter Lar­raine Shuen said she was vis­it­ing her home­town from Auck­land this week and on Thurs­day de­cided to take a “fam­ily walk” to Adrian’s seat.

Her brother Dean, their mother Bar­bara and Adrian’s daugh­ter Deeahn — who all still live in the West­ern Bay — joined her.

They ar­rived at the wooden seat to find some­one had carved “RIP SEXY REXY” into a burned-black plank.

“We were dev­as­tated. We had a bit of a cry,” Lar­raine said. “That’s our spe­cial place, and lots of other spe­cial peo­ple go there to re­flect.

“It’s soul-de­stroy­ing that some­one could do such a self­ish, id­iot act and not un­der­stand the im­pact.”

It had not been there the week be­fore, so they took pho­tos and spread the word on so­cial me­dia to try to track down the cul­prits.

The posts gen­er­ated out­rage and a cou­ple of leads, but Lar­raine said she did not think they would ever know for sure who did it.

“We just want to get it fixed. We’re happy to pay.” On Fri­day morn­ing the

con­tacted Tau­ranga City Coun­cil, which quickly agreed to re­place the de­faced plank.

“No one has re­ported the van­dal­ism to the coun­cil, but now that we are aware we’ll ar­range for it to be re­placed,” a spokes­woman said.

Lar­raine said the news was “amaz­ing”.

She said her brother’s sud­den death had been in­cred­i­bly hard for the whole fam­ily, who had never stopped griev­ing.

Adrian’s bench seat is on the surf club side of Mauao, about a five to 10-minute walk around the base track.

She said she and her sib­lings had grown up in the Mount and Mauao was re­ally im­por­tant to Adrian.

“He fished, and he took his kids there to play in the rock pools and for pic­nics.”

PHOTO / AN­DREW WARNER

Deeahn Shuen with the dam­age to the memo­rial seat ded­i­cated to her fa­ther, Adrian Shuen.

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