The prime minister and Air New Zealand have apologised to the families of the 257 people who died in the Erebus disaster for failures that led to the crash for the first time.
In a ceremony for families on the 40th anniversary of the flight, Jacinda Ardern issued a "wholehearted and wide-reaching" apology.
Neither the government nor Air New Zealand had made a full apology before.
At the time of the crash, the airline was state owned, today the government owns 54 percent.
Ms Ardern said the time has come to end the "piecemeal" responses to the disaster, and said failures to acknowledge past wrongs only made the families' grief more difficult.
She explicitly said the way parliament handled the Justice Mahon's report was wrong.
"After forty years, on behalf of today's government, the time has come to apologise for the actions of an airline then in full state ownership; which ultimately caused the loss of the aircraft and the loss of those you loved.
"This apology is whole hearted and wide reaching. We will never know your grief, but I know the time has come to say I am sorry."
Air New Zealand board chair Dame Therese Walsh also apologised.
"I apologise on behalf of an airline which 40 years ago failed in its duty of care to its passengers and staff.
"And I apologise again on behalf of the airline for the way in which the families of those lost on Mt Erebus were treated in the aftermath of the accident. Better care should have been taken of you."
The families met with Ms Ardern and the Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy, at a private ceremony at Government House in Auckland today.
At 12.49pm, staff at Scott Base in Antarctica gathered at a Koru memorial on the hill above the base for a short reading, a message from Prime Minister Jacinda Adern, and a moment's silence to commemorate the anniversary.
The events mark 40 years since the crash of Air New Zealand Flight TE901 on Mt Erebus in Antarctica in 1979, with the loss of 257 lives.
Air NZ's flight TE901 was taking a sightseeing journey to Antarctica but never came home, instead crashing into Mt Erebus. Everyone on board, including 20 crew members, died.
In the fallout from the crash, blame was laid on the pilots.
Two years later a Royal Commission of Inquiry absolved the crew of causing the accident, with commissioner Justice Peter Mahon instead pointing the finger at Air New Zealand.
He famously accused the airline of "an orchestrated litany of lies".
In 1983 however, the Privy Council found Mr Mahon had acted outside his jurisdiction in finding a conspiracy by Air New Zealand, on the grounds that those accused of it did not get a chance to give evidence. Mr Mahon resigned in response, but he never resiled from his findings.
In 2009, Air New Zealand's chief executive at the time, Rob Fyfe made an apology to families during the unveiling of a sculpture at the airline's headquarters.
A decision to build a memorial in Auckland's Dove-Myer Robinson Park will be made by the Waitematā Local Board on 3 December. The plan to build at the park in Parnell is contentious, with some locals having delayed approval saying would ruin the look of the area.
Apology a 'game changer' - Pilots' Association
Air Line Pilots' Association president Andrew Ridling said the apology from the government and Air New Zealand was a game changer for this country's pilots and our entire aviation industry.
Mr Ridling said the crash and the investigations that followed had a lasting effect on relationships with Air New Zealand.
"The Erebus disaster, and the tumultuous events that followed, had a lasting effect on aviation in New Zealand and on relationships with Air New Zealand. The pilots on board the aircraft that day were subject to unfair conjecture and blame that affected their professional reputations," said Captain Ridling.
"We have waited a very long time to see that put right. Our thoughts are now with the families of the crew and every passenger who was on board the aircraft that day."
Mr Riding said the Association had waited a very long time time to see that put right and his thoughts were now with the families of the crew and every passenger who was on board the plane.
"It's impossible to underestimate the effect of just a few words. It's very important to us and the families to hear the Prime Minister say the pilots were not responsible for this tragedy.
"For New Zealanders, the word Erebus is not just a mountain on a cold distant continent. It is now a by-word for a dark time we hope we will never experience again," he said.