The 2-year-old girl found dead on tidal flats near Maketū last Thursday has been named.

She was Nevaeh Jahkaya Whatukura Ager.

Nevaeh's body was found on tidal flats in the close-knit town of Little Waihi after police were initially called to the area because of "reports of a public disorder".

Residents said a man had been running naked in the area.


Police this week begun a homicide investigation into the girl's death after receiving results from an autopsy on her body.

Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner said seven members of the National Police Dive squad completed an examination of the estuary on Tuesday

"The focus continues to identify and talk to all persons who were in the Little Waihi area between Monday March 18 and Friday March 22."

Turner said police would like to extend their sympathies to the victim's family at this tragic time.

A family friend, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Herald that police had been speaking to a man as part of their investigation.

Nevaeh's death came just three days after her grandmother posted a message to a public Facebook page announcing the birth of the toddler's younger brother.

"Congratulations to the new addition to Little Waihi - a baby boy," she wrote in the post on March 18.

A long-term Little Waihi resident, who asked not to be named, also told the Herald that the girl's mother had given birth to a boy recently.


"I believe she was still in Tauranga Hospital when her little girl's body was found, and I also understand the woman's mother was coming from Hastings to support her," he said.

"Like everyone else in this tight community, I was shocked and very sad when I learned about the little girl's death."

A family friend earlier told the Herald, the mother had been moved from hospital to a hotel shortly after her daughter's death as police conducted investigations at the family's Little Waihi home.

The Herald can also reveal that the family's home had been at the centre of a dispute between the girl's father Aaron Broughton, also known as Aaron Pascoe, and the Te Arawa Lakes Trust.

The trust owned the land in Little Waihi, including that which the home sits on, and had been trying to evict Broughton and his family.

Broughton had hoped to stay in the home, arguing that - although the land was leased - the home had been owned by the family for more than 40 years after his grandparents bought it in the 1970s and stayed there until his grandmother died last year.

Te Arawa wouldn't comment at the time on why it had sought to evict Broughton and his family from the property.

A male security officer today stood guard at a police cordon at the front gate of the Broughton's property.

Six police divers were also searching in and around the eastern side of the Little Waihi estuary.

The search area was about 50m from the Bledisloe Avenue Holiday Park. The park's owners said they had spoken with police but did not comment further.

Another Little Waihi resident said they felt like there was an eerie "sadness hanging over our entire village".

Anyone with information that may help the police enquiry is urged to contact Tauranga Police on 07 577 4300.