The young boy who was killed in a farm accident near Kaikoura was killed before he could celebrate his birthday.
Alex Mackle, nine, was killed on Friday evening in a farm incident.
It is believed Alex was killed while his father Simon was moving cattle through a gate and while he was at the gate the vehicle Alex was in started to roll backwards, Stuff reports.
As Alex tried to escape he fell from the vehicle and was run over. His mother was preparing for his birthday party at the time of the incident.
"Alex was a loving little guy with a cheerful nature and a cheeky smile. He loved his family and friends and being outdoors. Words cannot express the heartbreak that we are feeling right now and we ask for privacy as we grieve for Alex," a family statement says.
A family spokesman says the incident was a "tragic farm accident".
"The family have had a devastating loss.
"It's hard to put into words, it's more than a shock. It's a devastating loss for everyone, the whole community, not only the family."
Police attended the incident on the Inland Kaikoura Rd at around 6pm last Friday night.
The boy's death has been referred to the Coroner and WorkSafe has also been advised, police say.