An 8-year-old girl was riding along the footpath on her way home from school seconds before a crash that killed her.
The 3.30pm crash in the small Taranaki town of Inglewood has traumatised witnesses and left the girl's classmates in shock.
Taranaki Highway Patrol Sergeant Allan Trow said the girl's family were receiving support from police.
A police spokeswoman today said it was too early to say how the crash happened and the serious crash unit were investigating.
Inglewood Primary School principal Karen Patterson confirmed the girl had been cycling home from the school, which is near the crash site on the corner of Rata and Miro Sts.
"Our Inglewood Primary and wider school community extend our deepest sympathy to the family and close friends."
The Ministry of Education's traumatic incident team is supporting the staff, students and school community, Patterson said.
Community board chairman Kevin Rowan understood there had been no major concerns around traffic safety in the area, and considered the tragedy a freak accident.
Rowan, who didn't learn about the crash until late last night, said such events were rare in the Taranaki town - and couldn't recall anything like it happening.
Inglewood was a small, tight-knit community, he said, and families would be pulling together to offer support.
Trow said the truck involved in the crash was carrying stock food.
He told Fairfax it appeared the truck had been turning out of Miro St and the girl had been riding along the footpath before the crash happened.
Anyone who witnessed the crash is urged to call Inglewood Police on
(06) 756 0901.