Tamils living in New Zealand are trying to contact their relatives following news that the Tamil Tigers have conceded defeat in Sri Lanka's 25-year civil war.

More than 50,000 civilians were said to have been released from the conflict zone at the weekend, after being trapped during the final days of battle.

Mt Roskill resident Donna Kalpagee, whose two sisters were among those trapped, said she has been trying to contact them since Sunday - but without success.

"I've tried everything to contact them, and I am still deeply worried about what will happen to Tamils after the war."

Another immigrant, Sivakumar Vinayagamoorthy, is worried about his parents and two other brothers, after the only news he has received were that his 35-year-old brother had been killed in a bomb attack.

Local Tamil activist Nirupa George says "99 per cent" of Tamils here had family members - either through blood or marriage - caught in the current conflict, and many were feeling a sense of helplessness.

"They are also deeply frustrated, especially when they have relatives dying and all they get from the international media are false reports because the Government continues to bar independent media there," Nirupa said.

The guerrillas admitted on Sunday that their battle for an independent ethnic homeland had reached its "bitter end", marking an end to Asia's longest running civil war that left 70,000 dead.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to tell the nation the war was over in a nationally televised news conference today, but Nirupa said the Tamil diaspora will continue to push its cause for a long-term solution that would end dissatisfaction among young Tamils there, which she claims to be the "root problem".

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Tamil Medical Association yesterday said it will be sending medical supplies and personnel to help the sick and wounded there, said association president Nagalingam Rasalingam.

It was resolved at a meeting on Sunday that essential medicine and supplies, such as plasters, syringes and antibiotics, would be sent through the International Medical Health Organisation and the association would seek safety assurances before also dispatching a medical team comprising doctors, nurses and social workers.

"The crisis is huge and we are just a small organisation - but we have to do something because thousands of lives are at stake here," Dr Rasalingam said. "We are seeking help from organisations like the Pharmacy Guild and New Zealand Medical Council to make it happen."

The exact number of civilians caught in the battle zone has been a matter of dispute, with the Government previously maintaining less than 20,000 were being held hostage, while the United Nations said there could be 50,000 people trapped.