The family of Uetaha Dahtanian Ransfield-Wanoa have thanked the community for its support after the "bubbly, cheeky" 4-year-old died in a tragic tractor-mower accident this week.
Affectionately known by his family as "Bubbies", Uetaha died after he was run over by a council tractor-mower at Kirkpatrick Park in Hastings on Tuesday afternoon.
A statement released by Uetaha's father, Willy Ransfield, mother Ailza Wanoa and the extended family said: "Our beautiful wee boy was taken from us in a tragic accident this week.
"The whanau appreciate the loving support and many kind thoughts which have been shown by the community at this difficult time."
They described Uetaha as a "bubbly, cheeky 4-year-old" who was looking forward to starting at Kura Kaupapa o Heretaunga School in Hastings.
"He was a star pupil at Kohanga Reo o Heretaunga, which he attended, and was a very busy young fella who loved his family. He also had a great love of spiders and was never happier than when he was doing back flips off his bed or anywhere else.
"Uetaha had an amazing love of dinosaurs and regularly slept with a toy one under his pillow. He was a boy with a mischievous grin who was loved by everyone. He generally started his day with a Milo and, of course, the cheeky grin meant he got his way with almost everyone, especially his nan (My Love)," the statement read.
His family said he was a poser who enjoyed playing games on his laptop, and "kept all his uncles and aunties on their toes".
"Everyone knew when he wasn't around, the local neighbourhood was a lot quieter."
Uetaha also loved watching movies, some of his favourites included Kung Fu Panda and Land Before Time.
"He called Cornwall Park in Hastings 'Kung Fu Park', because of the Chinese Temple and gardens.
"Uetaha will be greatly missed by all the whanau, especially mum and dad, sister gurl (Saphire), uncle namesake and aunty boobies. The Camberley community will not be the same without Uetaha around."
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule met the family yesterday and said it was a "very moving and very trying experience" to be with a family who had lost their child.
"We will continue to offer our love and support to the family. We can't bring the little boy back but we can, as a community, help this family get through this really difficult time."
Mr Yule said there were a number of options the council would look at to ensure a tragedy like it never happened again.
A council investigation into the accident would look at long-term provisions to prevent further accidents, while an interim solution might also be sought.
"At the moment we will continue to support the family and the driver, and his family, who are also very distraught and traumatised."
The New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) also expressed its sympathy to the whanau of Uetaha.
Association chairman Sarah Beaman said the incident was a terrible tragedy and had a "huge impact" on the whole community.
"NZRA offers its support to Hastings District Council's officers and contractors at this difficult time. There is an expectation on councils that parks, reserves and open spaces are well maintained, as well as being open for public use at all times.
"This inevitably means that there will be machinery and members of the public on recreation areas at the same time," she said.
"Right now, councils are examining their practices for operating on public parks, whilst parents are considering the level of freedom they give their children to play and explore."
Police, council and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment investigations are continuing in an effort to determine the series of events that led to the 4-year-old's death.