After cyclone, songs of praise and gratitude ring out in church halls across Hawke's Bay

In the midst of all the destruction from Cyclone Gabrielle, Pasifika voices singing songs of praise and gratitude have rung out in church halls across Hawke's Bay.

Pacific churches have been sanctuaries for Pacific RSE workers in the region, some of whom were clinging desperately to rooftops surrounded by raging waters during the height of the flooding.

RNZ reports Cyclone Gabrielle has robbed them of the few possessions they owned, but their faith remains.

Hastings Pasifika community leader Tofilau Talalelei Taufale said that RSE workers in the region are among those worst affected by the extreme weather events. He is currently on the ground, helping the workers who have been left homeless.

Tofilau said hundreds of workers have been evacuated:

"Many of them have been displaced, many of them have lost their possessions and many of them had struggled to contact their families to let them all know that they are safe."

"So there's a whole multitude of issues that impacted the shock that our RSE community is going through right now."

As far as the emergency response is concerned Tofilau said he understands there are a lot of worried people, but he calls for patience and understanding.

"We acknowledge that as a community everyone is trying their best, given their limitations so that's when we as a community will say ok it is what it is we're gonna help."

Although the clean-up is now well underway, it's estimated that it could take months.

To further complicate things telecommunication and internet connectivity remain limited - the safest method to keep connected is via smartphone, with data, but even that poses a challenge.

Tepura Trow of SENZ Training and Employment said despite the battering it has taken, Hawke's Bay's communities stand united.

"Our community has pulled together and they've got such an overwhelming and overload of donations coming in so I know that our focus and a lot of the NGOs and the community - our main focus is really, how can we set them up for after this."

Secretary and CEO of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, Gerardine Clifford-Lidstone said the outpouring of support has also been felt outside the hard-hit regions.

"For us, it's not just about the Hawke's Bay or the Auckland region, lots of questions from our concerned communities want to help and are wanting to provide blankets and towels and all those necessities of life that our families might need."