A south Auckland community "badly affected" by the death of a preschooler following an incident involving a scrum machine has rallied together for a prayer.

The 4-year-old, who was called Karlissa, died after the incident at Mountfort Park in Manurewa yesterday evening.

Police reported a 4-year-old girl had died and emergency services were called to the park at 6.35pm yesterday. Her death was being referred to the Coroner.

The extended family had gathered at the family's home, which Manurewa-Papakura Ward Councillor Daniel Newman said was in Papakura.


"Their baby is back with them now," he said.

"It's been an emotional day."

Newman said about 100 people attended a Karakia at the Manurewa Rugby Club this evening, which was led by Manurewa Marae chairman Rangi McLean.

Tonight we received some heartbreaking news. A 4-year-old girl has died following an incident involving a scrum...

Posted by Counties Manukau Touch on Wednesday, 12 December 2018

It was an important occasion, he said, for a community badly affected by what had happened.

The Karakia was an opportunity to "cleanse" the location and restore its spiritual health.

Newman told the Herald this evening the family was devastated.

"There is no reference for this kind of thing - we're right on Christmas and they are a family who are quite tight knit."

"It doesn't get much worse than that."

The incident occurred on the park's number two field, Newman said, which less than a week ago had hosted thousands of locals for the Manurewa Christmas in the Park.

It was believed the park was being used as part of a touch rugby module when the incident occurred.

A Givealittle page has been set up by a friend of Karlissa's parents, aiming to ease the financial burden faced by family as they "send off their precious beautiful baby".

"Our good friends Jen & Dan Cowell lost their precious little 4 year old girl Karlissa on Thursday 13 December 2018 in a tragic accident at the Manurewa Rugby Fields," the page read.

"This is a very heartbreaking situation and the family are obviously completely devastated. They are a beautiful, wonderful and loving family, always willing to give and help anyone in need."

Victim Support was assisting the family of the deceased, who were present at the time of the incident.

Police extended their "heartfelt condolences" to the family.

Manurewa Rugby Club president Kere Maihi declined to speak to the Herald. He is also the president for Counties Manukau Community Rugby.