A neighbour who was close to the family of the pre-school children found dead in Ruakākā said they were “good kids” who never went without anything.
The man, who asked not to be identified, said it’s a blended family, with five to six kids between them.
He couldn’t believe the news when he heard two of the children had died.
“I just didn’t believe it, I still can’t believe it; not the little ones.”
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The children never went without anything, including having “big dos” for their birthdays, he said.
The man was close to the father, whom he described as a good father with a lot of patience for his kids.
He described the young children as “good kids” who were well-behaved and never cheeky.
On Monday morning, a homicide investigation was launched after two children aged 1 and 4, died.
A 25-year-old woman has been charged with two counts of murder and was expected to appear in the Whangārei District Court on Tuesday.
Just a week earlier, a teenage boy died in Abbey Caves after being swept away by floodwater during a school trip.
Deputy mayor, and councillor for the Bream Bay ward, Phil Halse said it seemed to be one thing after the other for Northland at the moment.
“It’s a difficult time for the community to handle another situation like this.”
Halse said he had heard from a number of community members throughout Monday, who were all very upset.
“We really feel for the people involved… we hope the community can pull together and offer as much support [as they can].”
Local man Jed Smith said the incident would have a very negative impact on the community.
“It couldn’t get any worse” he said. “That’s a whole other level of horrible.”
Former MP for Whangārei Dr Shane Reti said the community had been hammered by two tragedies in a short space of time.
“It’s another tragedy of young people – there’s an intense sadness that the community is feeling, a weight of sadness.”
Reti called for the community to wrap around those that were grieving.
Whangārei MP Dr Emily Henderson said the news of the homicide investigation, alongside the death of Karnin Ahorangi Petera in Abbey Caves last week, was heartbreaking.
“The only thing [the community] is thinking of is the sad loss of our community’s children,” she said.
“We are all heartbroken today.”
On Monday, police confirmed that two people were located dead at a house on Peter Snell Rd.
“Northland Police have launched a double homicide investigation in Ruakākā this morning,” Detective Inspector Bridget Doell said in a statement.
Police were tightlipped with details, but said they were “speaking with a person of interest”.
“While we appreciate the wider interest in what has occurred, police aren’t in a position to release any further details at this stage,” said Doell.
“Our investigation is still in the early stages and we are currently speaking with a person as part of enquiries,” police said.