The parents of the 1-year-old girl at the centre of a homicide inquiry have paid tribute to her, describing her as "our little miracle".
Aaliyah Ashlyn Chand, who was born in New Zealand and is of Indian descent, died at Christchurch Hospital at 8.30pm on Wednesday, with her parents, Anjani and Dev, by her bedside.
She was admitted to hospital on Tuesday night suffering serious head injuries, sparking a major police investigation. She was taken to the hospital by her regular babysitter with help from a neighbour.
Mr and Mrs Chand today posted a moving tribute to Aaliyah, who had just days earlier celebrated her first birthday.
"No matter what you said or did, one look at that cute face and you were off the hook. No one could ever stay mad at you. Rarely ever did you fuss or cry," the tribute read.
"You learned how to say mama; it was so special to me. No matter how much they made fun of it, I didn't care because you knew my name and called me it constantly.
"Seeing your little smile, even if it was just one look, and even the coldest heart would be warmed. Just one look, that's all it took. No matter if you were young or old, short or tall, she'd love you with no problem at all.
"I never imagined what life would be without you here, so why did life have to play out this way?"
The tribute tells of the emotion in seeing her in a casket, looking "so peaceful just like you were sleeping".
"I know I must be strong, not for me but for everyone else. Without you here none of us know what to do. You were taken from our lives way too fast. Come back please, our little Munni, we miss you.
"You were our little miracle, but now you are our angel in the sky watching over each one of us. Love from Anjani & Dev, Isabel, Anisha, Ishaan and Avishek."
Police are awaiting the results of a post mortem that was carried out yesterday. "This is a tragic time for the family," Detective Senior Sergeant Anderson said.
Detectives and forensic teams have completed their examination of the babysitter's property on Worcester St and the parents' address in Addington. "We are not in a position to release any more information relating to this active investigation at this time."
Christchurch's tight-knit Fijian-Indian community said yesterday they were looking to rally around the girl's parents.
Yesterday, the Christchurch Fiji Association was shocked to learn that the family involved was of Fijian-Indian heritage. Spokesman Vinesh Prakash said they were phoning around to check if anyone knew them and to see if they could provide the parents with support.
"Usually we know one another, but we haven't heard who these people are yet," Mr Prakash said.