Auckland's Sri Lankan community is rallying around the survivors of a fire in South Auckland, which killed two women and a five-year-old boy.
Kailesh Thanabalasingham, 47, is in a critical condition in hospital, while an 11-year-old girl and an older man are in a stable condition.
Refugee Council president Arif Saeid said Mr Thanabalasingham was a council member.
His family and friends had gathered at Middlemore Hospital, Mr Saeid said.
Deborah Manning, who had been at the hospital, said her friend and colleague was a very much loved member of the Sri Lankan community.
"He's a tireless advocate of people's rights, and is just one of those people that works behind the scenes. He's very principled. He will never back down from what he believes is right but is also very wise with that and very personable, with a great sense of humour."
Mr Thanabalasingham had been in surgery all day, she said.
"We haven't been able to speak with him yet. We're hoping to be able to see him this evening, but obviously he's very unwell."
His son, wife and mother-in-law were killed in the fire.
Family friend, Sivaram Anandasivam, said the surviving child was beside herself with grief after waking up in hospital to find out her brother, mother and grandmother were dead.
Mr Anandasivam said relatives were travelling to New Zealand from Canada.
The Fire Service is investigating the cause of the blaze, which started about 3.30am, at the property in a new subdivision on Plantation Avenue.
Police said they were treating it as "unexplained".
Twenty firefighters fought the fire in the two-storey house.
RNZ's reporter at the scene said the house had been gutted. Smoke marks were visible on the outside and one room was a "blackened mess", she said.
Fire Service assistant area commander Graeme Quensell said it was a tragic incident, and his thoughts were with the family and friends of the victims.
Mr Quensell told Morning Report the house would be treated as a crime scene. "As soon as there's a fatality it becomes a crime scene."
He said the house was "totally involved" in fire when crews arrived.
Detective Inspector Gary Lendrum said police would be working with the Fire Service as they investigated the cause of the blaze.
A cordon was put up and only residents were being allowed to go into and out of the street.