It was with "tremendous sorrow" that Inspector Gary Davey confirmed to a crowd outside a west Auckland home that a child's body had been found earlier this evening.

The body is that of a young child found in a drain.

The property was very close to the Longburn address where two-year-old toddler Aisling Symes went missing last Monday.

Mr Davey said it was too early to say how the child got in the drain or how long it had been there.

Police have spoken to the family.

"The immediate scene has been cordoned off and treated as a crime scene," he said.

"I know you've got a lot of questions and so do I."

Mr Davey said the body had not yet been identified as Aisling Symes.

A group of neighbours are holding candles across the road from where the body was found.

An emotional principal of nearby Pomaria Primary School, Kevin Choromanski, said he would be briefed by Mr Davey this evening.

"I look around and this is all my community, my children," he said, referring to the large crowd outside.

One young child passed and said to Mr Choromanski, "They found her in a drain, eh."

Mr Choromanski described it as "numbing".

He said an assembly will likely be held tomorrow but no decision has been made yet.

After Mr Davey's press conference, neighbours brought flowers to outside the property where pastor Major Mervyn Phelps was waiting to speak to the parents of Alan Symes.

Mr Phelps said he is retired but felt it to be his obligation to be with the family at this time.

Earlier, the Mayor of Waitakere Bob Harvey confirmed to the NZ Herald a body had been found near the Henderson property where Aisling went missing.

As activity heightened on Pomaria Rd this evening, a street connecting with Longburn Rd, neighbours reported a drainage crew inspecting a storm water line near the property with a camera.

A police camera crew also entered the crime scene.

A senior crime officer was seen entering the area with a small box while another policeman entered the area with an industrial flashlight.

Firefighters began working on the storm water drain on Pomaria Rd around 6pm.

The developments saw a crowd of neighbours, children and other community members gather outside the property.

Aisling was last seen at 5pm last Monday, near her grandparents Longburn Rd home.

Police earlier today cancelled a press conference scheduled for this afternoon.

Aisling's mother, Angela, has maintained her daughter went missing while she had her back turned at the house.

She was missing for just over a week before tonight's discovery.