A boy with an infectious smile who had the ability to make anyone laugh died early yesterday morning following a suspicious fire at a property in Hastings.
The 10-year-old, who cannot be named, was rushed to hospital on Monday afternoon but later died from his injuries.
He attended Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Ngati Kahungunu ki Heretaunga and Peter Kireka known as Matua Pete, his teacher, expressed his condolences last night.
Mr Kireka had taught the boy for the past two years and said he was a "budding" and "inquisitive" student, who always had something to say.
"He was very passionate about what he believed was right and was the kind of person who held an opinion. He would make you laugh and he was a boy fully involved with the kura."
Mr Kireka said he shared a love for kapa haka and was in the group who was heading to Gisborne to represent Ngati Kahungunu at the Te Mana Kuratahi National Primary School Kapahaka Competition in November.
He was a popular boy in the school community and Mr Kireka said he was your typical Kiwi boy.
"He had lots of mates and everyone knew who he was. He was that kind of person."
Mr Kireka said the boy was going to have a promising future and he would have turned out to be a good person.
"That's why we were so sad to hear what had happened. As his matua I could see what he had."
However, the school community could take confidence in the fact he would now be back with his best friend, who died in the last school holidays from an asthma attack.
"At least they can be back together now and we can remember their infectious smiles and the way they used to make us all laugh."
The kura community will be visiting the whanau tomorrow.
Others took to Facebook to express their condolences with some describing the news as "heartbreaking".
One woman posted: "No words take away our pain cus, but we are all here and like the whanau we are we will pick each other up xx love you so much".
Meanwhile the 9-year-old boy, who was also taken to hospital but in a serious condition on Monday after the fire, was now in a stable condition in the childrens ward at Hutt Hospital. He was transferred there for further treatment yesterday morning.
Hawke's Bay Area Investigations Manager Detective Senior Sergeant Martin James said Police and Fire investigators had completed the examination of the disused building, along Heretaunga St West, however they were yet to speak with those involved and inquiries were ongoing.
Once those inquiries were completed the matter would be referred to the Coroner.
"Our thoughts are with all the families involved in this tragedy and we are providing support to them and the community at this time," Mr James said.
The building was owned by Outdoor Power and was listed for lease by Colliers International.
Outdoor Power owner Trevor Manuel offered his sympathies to the children who were injured and their families, and to the family of the child who passed away.
"Like everyone, I am shocked and upset by these events. However, with the investigation still continuing, it is not appropriate for me to add any further comment or make any other statements at this time," Mr Manuel said.