Jacinda Ardern pledges $10 million to Tonga for much needed cyclone repairs

Cyclone Gita may have been and gone long ago from Tonga, but the turmoil it left behind is far from leaving.

Many Tongans are in need of financial assistance to rebuild their homes and schools - and Wednesday's monetary boost from the NZ Government can't come soon enough.

The scars from Cyclone Gita are impossible to miss in Nuku'alofa - trees down, roofs peeled off and houses destroyed.

Omani Talau's house was built by his parents built and he'd just renovated it last year. Now it's barely habitable.

His granddaughter still lives inside it in one of the two bedrooms that escaped Gita's fury, but the house needs to be rebuilt.

"This house is more than interiors, because my mum and dad built it," he said.

He's hoping the Government will help - and that hope grew today, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pledging $10 million in aid.

There are stories like Omani's all over Tonga, but it's not just homes affected by Cylcone Gita. It's people's livelihoods, businesses, boats, the roads - and even community hubs like churches.

The damage extends all the way along the Tongan capital's coast, including the biggest school in Tonga, Api Fo'ou Colllege. Cyclone Gita sliced its way through dozens of classrooms, ruining their contents, including the computers from the IT block.

"We wish that New Zealand... the Prime Minster might visit our school and see all the damages, and maybe help somehow with some funds," said Father Ofa, Api Fo'ou College's principal.

He says it'll cost around $1.2 million to repair his school, some of which might come from Ms Ardern's cash injection.

"The damage has been pretty devastating. It's not just the loss of roofs - entire school walls, internally, have been destroyed," she said.

Some locals believe it'll be a long time before the money gets to them, especially with government buildings like Parliament needing a complete rebuild as well.

But others, like Mr Talau, are just counting their blessings to be alive.