A Givealittle page has been set up in memory of Emily Branje, the little girl who was swept away at the mouth of the Hokitika River on Thursday.

The 9-year-old was whitebaiting with a family member when she was swept to her death. The relative, a 69-year-old man, was rescued and treated for shock.

A body believed to be Emily's was found 40km north, near the mouth of the Grey River near Cobden, Greymouth on Saturday morning.

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The Christchurch girl had been spending the holidays with extended family in Hokitika.

Her family released a statement speaking of their shock and grief that their "precious" only child had been lost.

Now a friend and former colleague has set up a Givealittle page to help the family of Emily, who was "tragically taken by and returned by the sea".

"Emily was the precious only child of Patrick and Janine, and loved stepdaughter of Mandy and Neil.

"Emily was vibrant, so very talented with the most contagious personality, she always made those around her laugh. She was a passionate and talented highland dancer and fencer and committed to the environment, a keen speedway fan and went on many 4WD trips."

Page founder Abby Briggs said Emily's mum Janine had been "an amazing support to me while my daughter was undergoing cancer treatment".

"I now want to help rally support to help the Branje family through this toughest of times."

People had been reaching out and asking how they could support the family, leading to the creation of the crowdfunding page.

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More than $3000 has been donated as of this morning.