Manu Toa woke to the sound of his bedroom roof flying away.

"Then all the panels and everything started falling inwards - my whole upstairs was collapsing," he recalls of Tropical Cyclone Gita while sitting on the back of a work truck in Tonga's capital, Nuku'alofa.

The 19-year-old Tongan-American - from California - quit his local job to help rebuild homes after the category-five storm tore through the Pacific nation in February.

"It was something out of a disaster movie - literally, it looked like I was in a wasteland," he tells NZ Newswire.

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The Pacific nation was the worst hit by Gita.

Up to 40 per cent of the capital's homes were damaged, 80 per cent of the country was left without power and its parliament building was levelled.

Four weeks on, the roads have been cleared, the electricity is back on in all but approximately 4000 houses and the water is running.

But the recovery is far from over.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's delegation, hopping around the Pacific this week, arrived in Tonga on Wednesday and immediately set out to assess the damage and offer help.

At Fasi Government Primary School, Ardern was guided through classrooms left roofless, with walls torn down by wind and rain and the hung-up artwork of students destroyed.

The school's pupils have been learning in tents since the storm.

"These are the things we have now," principal Pomana Hui says.

"Maybe someone will come and help us rebuild."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on route to Tonga wearing a dress borrowed form her mother. Photo / Michael Craig
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on route to Tonga wearing a dress borrowed form her mother. Photo / Michael Craig

And so it was the prime minister who announced another $7 million of funding to help the kingdom's recovery.

"We know you need your roofs to be fixed," Ardern told the students.

More than half of Tonga's schools have been damaged.

"[The money] is expected to likely go directly into schooling and education," she told reporters later.

"But primarily it will be up to the government to ensure that's going to the most immediate need."

Soon after, Ardern's delegation arrived at Pili Village, where powerline workers were fixing up the last outages around Nuku'alofa.

Large banners welcoming "Jacinta" hung around the area.

A year earlier, her predecessor Bill English came to watch workers upgrading the cables to villages.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds meetings on the flight to Tonga. Photo / Michael Craig
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds meetings on the flight to Tonga. Photo / Michael Craig

On Wednesday they were cleaning lines struck by tress and debris.

"Power is critical to be able to get water, to be able to get critical services up and running," Ardern said after announcing $3m of new aid towards Tonga's damaged electricity network.

A separate $11m package, the first part of a five-year upgrade of Nuku'alofa's electricity network, was also unveiled - bringing total aid announcements for the day to $21m.

Tonga Power chief Robert Matthews told reporters the changes meant the network could be restored much faster after future cyclones.

Earlier in the day, Ardern met with Tongan counterpart Akilisi Pohiva for a meeting and an exchange of gifts.

Pohiva has recently spent time in intensive case for an undisclosed illness but, with Tongan king Tupou VI currently in China to boost bilateral relations, was reportedly keen to meet Ardern.

"As we have with the other stops we've made [in Samoa and Niue], our focus has been on New Zealand's relationship with Tonga rather than Tonga's relationship with anyone else," Ardern told reporters when asked about China's growing influence in the region.

New Zealand's Pacific Mission will on Wednesday afternoon depart for its final stop, the Cook Islands.

- NZN