A Samoan Anglican priest living in Auckland says her home village of Poutasi, on the southern coast of Upolu, has been devastated.

"It looks like it's been bombed," Taimalelagi Fagamalama Tuatagaloa-Leota, known to her parishioners in Auckland as Archdeacon Tai, told the Anglican Church newsletter, Taonga.

The tsunami has also had a profound effect at a personal level for Archdeacon Tai - one of her adult sons was in a van that was swept out to sea.

He finished up half under the van, impaled by roofing iron, and is in a critical condition in Apia Hospital.

A daughter-in-law lost at least 10 members of her family.

The Anglican bishop for the Diocese of Polynesia, Winston Halapua, who is based at St John's College in Auckland, was today scouring satellite photos in an effort to see homes if his relatives were still standing on Niua Toputapu island in Tonga.