Family devastated after Mauao memorial seat defaced
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.”
Deeahn Shuen with the damage to the memorial seat dedicated to her father, Adrian Shuen.