An Auckland primary school student has died after suffering an asthma attack during a game of netball.

Twelve-year-old Aishani Dutt had the severe asthma attack on May 2 before going into cardiac arrest and requiring treatment.

"Just to let you all know, our beautiful baby girl Aishani had a severe asthma attack on Thursday while doing what she loves the most - playing netball with her friends," mother Moreen Dutt said in a message posted to the Hobsonville School Facebook page three days later.

"Unfortunately she had a cardiac arrest and is currently fighting for her life. Things are looking bleak but we're holding on to every glimmer of hope we can."


The Hobsonville School student then passed away shortly after with her funeral held on May 9.

In another post on Hobsonville School's Facebook page, the school said Aishani's parents had asked the students to play a role in planning her funeral and be "very involved in this celebration of her life".

Now a Givealittle page has been set up in her memory to raise money for the charities that supported her and her family during the "devastating" tragedy.

The page said Aishani was a "loved member of Hobsonville School, part of an incredible, loving family and part of our community".

"Aishani was a passionate, determined, loving and talented young girl."

"Aishani's family would like to recognise the amazing effort, treatment and care given to them and Aishani by St John Ambulance, Starship Hospital and Ronald McDonald House during this devastating and difficult time."

Her death comes as a recent Massey University study found there had been a sharp increase in severe asthma cases among children.

The study found that over the past 14 years, the proportion of children taken to hospital with the disease had increased by almost half.


Associate Professor Jim Reid, of the University of Otago, who is also a medical adviser to the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation, warned that the onset of the cold and flu season was a time of particular risk.

"As the temperature drops at this time of year, cold air can cause constriction of airways which is also a risk factor for asthmatics. It is important to maintain a temperature of around 20 degrees in the home."

Reid said New Zealand had one of the highest rates of asthma in the world and about 70 people died from the disease each year.

"While we don't fully understand why the rates of asthma are so high among New Zealand adults and children, more needs to be done to get asthma under control.

"If asthmatics begin to exhibit an increasing wheeze that doesn't respond to a reliever inhaler, which is usually blue, they have difficulty speaking in full sentences or they begin to turn blue - these are all signs they need immediate medical intervention."

May 1 was World Asthma Day. Internationally it is estimated that 340 million people are affected by the chronic disease.