The 16-year-old girl who was killed when a stolen car crashed in South Auckland early on Sunday was a member of a gang that allegedly encourages "night racing".

Eden Nathan was a passenger in a stolen vehicle that was being pursued by a patrol car, although the police say they had stopped the chase before it collided with another vehicle in Buckland Rd, Mangere.

The 15-year-old female driver of the car was still in a coma in Auckland City Hospital tonight.

Neither was believed to have been wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident .

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A friend confirmed that Eden -- known by the "hit name" RØØK.C -- was a member of the gang PBG (Pretty But Gangster).

"PBG is a sisterhood; it's like a second family. The gang was full of her loving friends."

The friend has set up a Facebook page in her memory.

A relative of the driver told 3 News girls had to take part in night racing to maintain their spot in the gang. Often the cars were stolen and the joy rides were recorded on their phones.

The PBG gang had been linked to fights posted on YouTube, and was allegedly linked to three young teenagers who were critically injured after huffing gas and lighting a lighter last year.

Several online tributes to Eden have referenced PBG. Some have also referenced the Cripps gang.

'I will always remember her for the good things'

Amy Battrick says she taught Eden Nathan in her final year of intermediate school and has taken to Facebook to lament her passing.

"She was such a clever girl, she was in all the top groups. She made me smile all the time, such a bubbly and fun-loving character.

"Eden was a gorgeous girl with so much potential. She was a really talented reader and writer, she often surprised me with her maturity.

" I kept one of her stories for years. It was about a family member passing away, and written so beautifully it brought a tear to my eye.

"Since then, Eden may have made some bad decisions and gone down the wrong path, but I will always remember her for the good things. Such a tragedy."

Neither of the two girls involved in the pursuit was believed to have been wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Photo / Grahame Clark, SNPA
Neither of the two girls involved in the pursuit was believed to have been wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Photo / Grahame Clark, SNPA

A friend of Eden's, who did not wish to be named, said she was always happy and friendly.

"She was always smiling; always [had] ear phones in listening to rap music; always so happy and very family-orientated."

Eden was well known in many parts of South Auckland.

"[It's] such a tragedy and sad loss. Gone far too soon... God has gained such an innocent young soul."

Another friend of Eden said she had a "heart of gold" and always looked out for others.

"She was the strongest person I know... the most kind-hearted thug soulja that we will all love and miss."

She loved music and spending time with family and friends. Her favourite song was Life Goes On, by Tupac.

'It was going really fast...maybe even over 120km/h

The police chase started after a Papatoetoe resident reported seeing someone breaking into a car about 3.30am.

Officers arrived four minutes later and tried to get the driver to pull over.

When that didn't happen, they pursued the car around the streets of Papatoetoe and Mangere.

However, by the time of the fatal accident, they had already given up the chase, a police statement said.

A Buckland Rd resident saw the car speed past her property.

"It was going really fast down the middle of the road -- over 100km/h, maybe even over 120km/h. It was really loud, revving lots like a car does when it's really going. We jumped up and saw it cross over the centre lane and crash into a vehicle that was coming from the other way."

The police car arrived moments after the crash, she said. "Then heaps [of police] came and everyone came out of their houses to see what happened."

The resident said it wasn't the first crash she had seen on the long strip of road, which has a 50km/h limit.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority is investigating the crash.