An iwi leader says the apology from an executive of the company which owns the Rena seemed genuine and sincere.
The wreck of the ship has been stranded on a reef off Tauranga since October.
Costamare director Konstantinos Zacharatos is in Tauranga this week meeting community leaders and iwi.
He visited a marae in Mount Maunganui on Monday where members of the Tauranga moana iwi explained how they've been affected by the Rena.
Iwi spokesperson Charlie Tawhiao says they accepted his apology. But he told Morning Report that iwi members made it clear to Mr Zacharatos they expect his company to play a lead role in restoring the environment to its pre-Rena state.
Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby says he asked for the company to introduce a more user-friendly compensation claim process for small businesses that have lost money due to the ship's stranding, and Mr Zacharatos was open to that.
Mr Zacharatos is accompanied by a representative from the Swedish Club, the major insurers for shipping.