Memorial stone bench honours shark attack victim
TODAY marks the anniversary of the death of local surfer Tadashi Nakahara, who was attacked by a shark at Speeds Reef near Shelly Beach, Ballina.
Ballina mayor David Wright hopes a bench installed adjacent to the walkway overlooking where the 41-year-old Japanese national was attacked will provide some closure for the community and those involved with the attempted rescue.
Cr Wright has funded the installation of the bench - he doesn't want to say how much it cost - and personally completed the approval process.
He said he had to apply for the installation of the granite bench in exactly the same way other community members apply for memorials to be installed.
Cr Wright said he never met Tadashi, who lived and worked in Ballina, but was touched by the outpouring of emotion following his death.
"Its been such a traumatic time for people who rescued him," Cr Wright said.
"Tadashi was well-loved in the community.
"This just shows he's not forgotten."
He said the bench also meant to pay tribute to those people who came to the help of the two other local men attacked by sharks in the past year, Mat Lee and Sam Morgan.
Tadashi's partner and parents will today join Cr Wright in an informal ceremony personally organised by the mayor to unveil the bench.
Japanese and Australian flags will be draped across the bench, and Tadashi's partner and parents will each remove a flag.
Cr Wright said he had the idea for the tribute to Tadashi almost immediately after the surfer's death.
He formally applied for the bench seat to be installed eight months ago, with its design, he said, aiming to reflect a Japanese style.
The bench is located near a carved wooden memorial and a Japanese naval ensign painted on the walkway.
Cr Wright has been criticised for his handling of the shark activity off the Ballina coast, with many saying he talks about sharks publicly too much.
He maintains he has always wanted to do the right thing by Ballina.