The Prime Minister says New Zealand needs to start seeing itself as a part of the Pacific Island community.
Jacinda Ardern is on a five-day trip to Samoa and Tonga to see some of the recovery already underway following Cyclone Gita.
On Monday she pledged nearly $10 million in aid to Samoa, and is due to arrive in Tonga on Tuesday, which was the worst-hit island nation.
"This particular one off the back of Cyclone Gita is pretty focused on recovery," she told The AM Show.
The storm hurled its force at Tonga last month, flattening thousands of homes and leaving many homeless.
We've had, in the past, a donor-recipient relationship.
"I was just on the plane, for instance, looking at aerial maps of the damage in Tonga and it is significant," she said.
Ms Ardern repeated Foreign Minister Winston Peters' sentiment that New Zealand needs to "reset" its relationship with the Pacific.
"We've had, in the past, a donor-recipient relationship. And yet these are nations where we have strong friendships, partnerships, where they have mature democracies."
Watch the full interview with Jacinda Ardern above.
The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.