A child has drowned at Tauranga’s Memorial Park this morning.
In a statement, police said they responded after a 9.50am report was received of a “drowning incident”.
“Emergency services responded and a child was located unresponsive,” the statement said.
“CPR was commenced, but sadly the child was unable to be revived.”
The statement said the thoughts of police were with the child’s family who had requested privacy at this difficult time.
The death will be referred to the coroner.
In a statement, Tauranga City Council said it was aware of the “tragic accident” at Memorial Park.
“Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to the affected family,” the statement said.
“Fencing is in place at the Memorial Park fountain and will remain there until a blessing can be performed.”
Flowers have been placed on the fence next to a handwritten sign that reads “Keep out”.
A Fire and Emergency spokesperson said they were notified of the incident at 9.54am. The incident had been referred to ambulance services.
A St John Ambulance spokesperson said they were notified of the incident at 9.51am.
“However, we were not required for transportation.”
The spokesperson said any further inquiries should be directed to police.
A woman, who didn’t want to be named, who was near the area after 10am said she saw emergency services at the scene. She said whatever happened looked serious but she didn’t want to get too close to look.
Another Tauranga woman, who went to take their children to the park this afternoon, said there was hardly anyone around and those who were there were looking at the sign and the flowers and appeared to be paying their respects.
She said the area was unusually quiet and had a “sad feeling” about it.
According to the Tauranga Historical Society, the Memorial Park fountain was unveiled on December 15, 1962 after volunteers gave up 5000 hours of their time over 27 weekends to build it.
The fountain received a $15,000 upgrade in 2009.
According to Water Safety NZ, drowning is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5.
Water Safety NZ’s children’s water safety programme Under Five has recorded 150 child deaths from drowning in the past 20 years.
According to Water Safety NZ provisional data for 2023, last updated on May 19, 44 people have died from drowning in New Zealand this year.
Of that number five were under four years old and four were between the ages of 15 and 24.
Twelve of the 44 recorded fatalities occurred while swimming.