The family of a 6-year-old girl killed in an Auckland house fire has urged parents to "hold their children close".

Anaseini Ma'asi, known as Ana, was killed in a fire at her Onehunga home on Monday.

The Fire Service said the blaze was started by a 3-year-old playing with matches.

Today her family released a statement about Ana, calling her their "social butterfly".


"Ana's sudden death has left aching and hurting hearts," Ana's aunt Kat Kaho said.

"Both parents are in anguish and heartbroken over Ana's tragic death and neither have been able to sleep well since the night of this tragic event.

"Both parents struggle with going back to the house and Amelia [Ana's mother] has not been back since Monday."

Ana's mother said she would forever miss her daughter's hugs.

"Ana had a great understanding beyond her years, she would ask lots of questions, consider the answers and speak her mind or accept things. She was very girly girl, and loved being our little princess."

Ana's father Mulikiha'amea Ma'asi said the 6-year-old would "interview" people to get to know them.

"For a child her age she wouldn't get intimidated easily, that's one of the things that endeared her to everyone," he said.

Ana's remaining eight siblings were struggling to come to terms with the fact their sister would not be around to "play, tease or laugh with", the statement said.

The family wanted to express their gratitude to the children's schools, and parents who had shown overwhelming love, support and practical aid.

"Thank you to those who we have never met but have sent their condolences, thoughts and prayers.

"We want to encourage everyone to hold their children close and always show them how much they are loved."

A fundraising page for the family has been set up on to help the family "who lost their daughter and sister and all their possessions".

Donations can be made at

A service will be held for Ana at 7pm today at The Catholic Church on Church Street, Onehunga.

The final requiem mass will be at 10am tomorrow, followed by Ana's burial at the local cemetery.