A group of people evacuated from Tonga

A group of people evacuated from Tonga

A group of people evacuated from Tonga

Updated 30 March 2012, 18:45 AEDT

The first evacuees airlifted out of the strife-torn Pacific kingdom of Tonga arrived in Auckland overnight They were aboard a New Zealand air force aircraft that had flown to Nuku 'Alofa with a contingent of soldiers and police to restore security after two days of rioting in the capital.

New Zealand correspondent Peter Lewis reports about 150 Australian and New Zealand peacekeepers arrived late yesterday to secure the international airport and enforce martial law on the streets of the capital.

Tongan soldiers and police continue to roundup the alleged ringleaders of this week's riots which claimed eight lives and extensively damaged buildings in the central business district.

Eleven people were evacuated to Auckland overnight including the daughter of Tongan Prime Minister Dr Fred Sevele - whose supermarket was ransacked by the rampaging mob.

Expatriate Chinese whose businesses were also targeted by arsonists and looters have taken refuge in diplomatic compounds in the city while arrangements are being made for further evacuations.

Commercial flights to Tonga are expected to resume tomorrow.