It is too early to tell what damage Cyclone Gita has wrecked on a vanilla crop in Tonga owned by a Tauranga company.

Bethlehem-based Heilala Vanilla chief executive Jennifer Boggiss said staff in Tonga had suffered damage to their homes in the storm, which tore through the island nation overnight.

Read more: Cyclone Gita: Buildings destroyed in Tonga, people injured

The company's operations were spread across Vava'u and 'Eua. The latter island is southeast of Tonga's hard-hit main island, Tongatapu.

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Boggiss spoken to the company's founder, her father John Ross, in Vava'u this morning and he said Vava'u had not been affected but those on 'Eua had not been so fortunate.

He had managed to speak to their manager in 'Eua, Sela Latu, early this morning, but had not been able to get through since.

Sela Latu, a manager for Tauranga-based Tongan vanilla company Heilala Vanilla, and her family rode out Cyclone Gita in a church on the island of 'Eua, Tonga. Photo / Supplied
Sela Latu, a manager for Tauranga-based Tongan vanilla company Heilala Vanilla, and her family rode out Cyclone Gita in a church on the island of 'Eua, Tonga. Photo / Supplied

"She mentioned that they hadn't yet assessed damage and looked around 'Eua, however iron had blown off her house roof," Boggiss said.

"Her family had spent the night in the church, which is made from concrete block.

"Everyone who stayed at the church is safe and the full extent of damage to buildings and crops won't be known for a number of days or possibly weeks."

The company had three staff on 'Eua, as well as the wider community of workers that served the area's 40 or so vanilla farms.

"Over the following days we will be liaising with our team and farmer communities on 'Eua to see how we can best support them.

"We remain loyal to Tonga and will do whatever we need to support our staff there."

The family-owned business, which has collaborated with Lewis Road Creamery and Whitaker's chocolate in recent years, was born after Ross travelled to Tonga and helped with rebuild efforts after Cyclone Waka, which hit on New Year's Eve, 2001.

He formed a partnership with a local family to lease the land and provide jobs in the community. The first crop was harvested in 2005.