A 12-year-old boy who died after sniffing butane was a ''talented sportsman with a lot of potential''.
Darius Logan Claxton died in a New Brighton car park about 11.20pm on Friday.
He was believed to have been with a group of young people who had been sniffing the gas from a canister.
Kirkwood Intermediate School principal Phil Tappenden said the Year 8 pupil's death was ''just a tragedy''.
''It's a young life wasted."
Darius joined the school about a year ago and was an ''all-round sportsman'' who was skilled in athletics and ball sports, Tappendale said.
Pupils had been spoken to about Darius' death this morning, and mention would be made at the school's assembly later in the week.
''We have to look at making sure the ... children can grieve appropriately and move forward.''
Counsellors were available for pupils to talk to, and the Ministry of Education's traumatic incident team was also onsite at the school today.
Friends laid flowers at the scene of his death yesterday and said it made them realise the dangers of ''huffing'' the gas.
Daniel Hart, who tried to administer CPR to his friend before the ambulance arrived, told 3 News the death should be a warning to others.
"It was really sad to see him die, " he said. "I tried to give him CPR and stuff but it didn't work."
Daniel said it was the first time Darius had tried sniffing the gas.
"He just had one little bit and then he fell over right there, " he said.
"It was sad. I wouldn't do it. It's not good. It could freeze your insides."
Several Facebook pages had been set up to pay tribute to Darius.
Meanwhile the owners of a Christchurch store that sold butane to the 12-year-old had been spoken to by police, Detective Sergeant Earle Borrell said.
Police had not yet determined whether charges could be laid in relation to the sale, Borrell said.
A police spokesman said the other young people with Darius when he died had been spoken to by police.
"There are a small number of other witnesses still to be followed up," the spokesman said yesterday.
Police said the cause of death was still to be confirmed and an autopsy would be carried out today.
The death had been referred to the coroner.
- © Fairfax NZ News