Youth charged with murder after death of 8yo in Southland

A youth has been charged with murder following the death of an eight-year-old in Otautau, Southland on Wednesday night.

He will appear in the Youth Court on Thursday afternoon.

A homicide investigation was launched after the child died on Wednesday night.

"[He] was taken into custody a short time after police were notified," Insp Mike Bowman told reporters on Thursday afternoon. "A number of police personnel were involved in the arrest."

He said it was a "truly tragic" incident.

"A forensic examination is ongoing at two addresses."

Insp Bowman said police and victim support will continue supporting the community.

He said no one else is sought in relation to the incident.

Builder Lester Wilson saw flashing lights on Wednesday night, then woke to the news on Thursday morning.

"It's a bit of a worry," he told Newshub. "It's tragic in any community."

Southland Mayor Gary Tong said his thoughts were with the family, the police and volunteers who attended the incident on Wednesday night.

"It's a very close-knit, very settled community," he said. "I'm sure that everyone will be thinking about those affected by it."