A young father who died when his car hit a tree in South Auckland on Saturday leaves behind a 4-month-old daughter.

Kaine Johnston's family were devastated at the loss of the 23-year-old, who was remembered by his uncle as someone who could "light up a room" with his calming nature.

Johnston's uncle, Morehu Solomon, said his nephew was a model child who loved his family.

"He was just one of those special kids. He was always happy. When you saw him, you would walk away happier," Solomon told Fairfax.

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Johnston grew up on the North Shore and attended Windy Ridge Primary, Glenfield Intermediate and Glenfield College.

He had been working delivering cement to ports and had recently completed his Able Seafarer Certificate before he died.

Solomon said Johnston and his girlfriend were travelling along the road when a vehicle approaching on the wrong side of the road forced them to swerve.

Their car hit a tree killing Johnston and causing his girlfriend minor injuries.

"Both families are devastated with the loss of Kaine at a time of his life where he was definitely making his mark. He will be missed by all for a long time," Solomon said.

Johnston's funeral would be held at his whanau's marae, Takahiwai Marae in Ruakaka.

"He's meant to carry us in there. Not us carry him."