The Police Dive Squad has recovered the bodies of the woman and child who died following a tractor incident in Waihemo, Northern Otago yesterday.

Nadine Tomlinson, 33, and her three-year-old son, Angus, died on their family farm about 5pm.

A police spokesperson said Tomlinson was driving a tractor with a trailer attached when she lost control and crashed into a reservoir.

A Dunback woman who did not want to be identified said she knew the woman and her family.

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They were "lovely", "really hard workers", and "really nice people", she said.

"It's terrible, it's really terrible."

The incident occurred on a farm around 20 minutes inland from the small town of Palmerston, between Dunedin and Oamaru.

The rural area is home to sheep and beef farms and stations. New Zealand's largest gold mine, Macraes Mine at Macraes Flat, is nearby.

It was the second tragedy to strike the Dunback farming community in the last few months, said the woman who knew the family.

Palmerston farmer Craig Porter died on a Dunback property in June, after his ute rolled. The vehicle's other occupant sustained serious injuries.

Meanwhile, it might be time to look into policy around farm machinery and children after yesterday's tragedy, Otago Federated Farmers president Simon Davies has said.

But National Federated Farmers president Katie Milne said families and farm machinery are part of the fabric of New Zealand and any change without all the information would be a knee-jerk reaction.

Waihemo is 20 minutes inland from Palmerston.

Davies said the tragedy would be a shock to the small community of Dunback, and after the family and friends of those affected had time to process the event it was time to look into safety around children and farm machinery.

"First off, sympathies and condolences to the family and immediate friends. The wider community, it will be a big shock for them.

"Yes, I'm not sure the time is right yet but, in a general term, yes, it needs to be looked at and talked about."

But Milne said while the event was a terrible tragedy, to call for a review when it was not clear what all the facts were, was a knee-jerk reaction.

"Not knowing the circumstances, it's a big call to say it needs a review.

Families, with their children nearby, operating day-to-day farm business was "part of the fabric of New Zealand life", she said.

"It happens after school or before school. Thousands of families will be doing this in the school holidays.

"It is too early to make any decisions."

Typically when Federated Farmers made any changes to policy they were dictated by coroners' reports and guidelines for best use, she said.

Elsewhere, an 11-month-old child drowned after falling into a water race in Rolleston, south of Christchurch yesterday afternoon.

A police spokesperson said the child had fallen into the water race before being found a short time later by relatives.

"The 11-month-old child was taken to hospital in a critical condition but later died," the spokesperson said yesterday.