Two teachers at a primary school in rural New Zealand suffered an unimaginable tragedy last week, when their seven-year-old daughter was killed in an accident on the school grounds.
Ellie Marie Kurth died last Thursday afternoon on the grounds of Walton School, located 45 minutes from Tauranga and Rotorua.
Ellie is the daughter of the school’s principal, Jeremy Kurth, and senior teacher Anna Kurth.
Details of Ellie’s death have not been released, but it’s believed she suffered injuries while the school was celebrating Matariki with a shared, uncovered Hangi, a traditional New Zealand method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven.
According to stuff.co.nz, police and ambulance were called to the school at 1:55pm, but Ellie died at the scene after her condition worsened.
The seven-year-old's death has been referred to the Coroner.
An obituary posted in local paper Waikato Times described Ellie as someone who brought "laughter and light" into everyone's lives.
"To our beautiful little Ellie Minelli, why did this happen?" her parents wrote.
"We are so incredibly heartbroken at the thought of life without you. You were so special to so many people and brought laughter and light to our lives every single day.
"Your beautiful spirit always shines and will never ever dim. We miss you Ellie. Sleep tight our darling girl. We love you so much, now and forever x."
The school confirmed her death in a Facebook post over the weekend.
"On Thursday 29th June 2017 the beautiful Ellie passed away at school surrounded by people who loved her," the post said.
"Loved daughter of Jeremy and Anna, caring little sister of Brenna."
Parents of students at the school also shared their grief.
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"So deeply saddened to hear the news this morning...I'll always remember Ellie with her gorgeous smile and giggles," Ange Barnes wrote.
"Words cant express the sadness you are all going through. I am deeply heartfelt with the loss of your beautiful wee girl," said Heather Kennard.
Ellie will be remembered at a funeral held at 1pm on Tuesday, where those attending are being asked to wear "colourful clothing" to celebrate her life.