The caregiver who worked for Lauren and Graham Dickason says she is struggling to cope after the South African couple's three young girls were killed in Timaru.
The children have been identified as 6-year-old Liane Dickason and twin 2-year-old girls Karla and Maya.
Their mother, Lauren Anne Dickason, was arrested and appeared in Timaru District Court on Saturday morning charged with murdering the three children.
"I am shattered. I don't know what to do but I am shattered," the Dickason's former domestic worker Maria Mandy Sibanyoni told TimesLIVE.
Sibanyoni worked as the Dickason family's caregiver for three years.
"I have shared a lot of things with Lauren. Now I am shattered. I am not coping."
She said the family seemed to have an idyllic life, and she loved the three girls.
"They were such nice children. They listened when you told them not to do that, and when they wanted something they would ask," Sibanyoni told TimesLIVE.
"When I come in they used to be excited that Mandy is here. They would say goodbye to their mother and 'we are going to play with Mandy'," she said.
Sibanyoni said she went on vacations with the family.
"All of them they treated me well and I treated them the same way. The communication was good," Sibanyoni said.
She said she spoke to Lauren Dickason in June as the family prepared to emigrate.
"The last time I saw her, everything was fine and she was happy she was going."
Sibanyoni said one of the girls had needed several surgeries for a problem with her lip.
"I was always with her, telling her not to stress about the children."
Neighbour Natasja le Roux told TimesLive the couple struggled to conceive their children.
"They waited years for those children because she had troubles with fertility and stuff, so it really is a big shock," le Roux said.
A South African health professionals' register showed Lauren Dickason, 40, graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2004 with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.
She became a qualified independent practitioner in 2007, according to the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
Graham Dickason obtained his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Pretoria in 2001.
He was admitted to the Fellowship of the College of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 2010 and completed a Master's degree in orthopaedics the year after.
The Dickasons had worked at Pretoria East hospital, a private hospital in suburban Moreleta Park, about 12km southeast of Pretoria's CBD.
Timaru neighbour Jade Whaley told YOU magazine the Dickasons had been in the town for barely one week.
"Can you imagine what that man must be going through?"
She said the family had been quiet since moving in next door.
The girl's grandfather Malcolm Fawkes has said the family was heartbroken after hearing about the awful events in New Zealand.
"Wendy and I were devastated to hear late last night of the terrible tragedies which our family in New Zealand suffered on Thursday," he said in a statement reported in multiple media outlets.
"The extended families are in a state of shock as we try to understand what happened. We ask for your prayers and support during this very difficult time."
Judge Dominic Dravitzki remanded Lauren Dickason in custody to a secure forensic mental health unit.
She will next appear in the High Court at Timaru on October 5.
She was to be remanded to Christchurch Women's Prison but a duty psychologist told Judge Dravitzki it was appropriate for Dickason to be remanded in the specialist facility.