Story from newshub.co.nz. Authors: James Fyfe, Dianna Vezich and Mark Quinlivan. Published: 14.30, Nov 28 2019

The Government has officially apologised over the Erebus disaster.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday said the time had come for the Government to apologise for the actions of Air New Zealand, which was at the time fully state-owned.

"I know the time has come to say I'm sorry," Ardern said.

"In making this apology I speak for and with Air New Zealand.

"Today [Thursday] I want to speak in recognition of the fact that in 1979 so much was lost. Time hasn't diminished any of that."

Ardern hosted the families of the victims at Government House on Thursday. She said the disaster "sent ripples across the country".

Also attending the event were Governor-General Patsy Reddy and representatives from Air New Zealand.

The disaster happened 40 years ago on Thursday. However, the incident has been mired in controversy since that tragic day.

All 257 people onboard were killed when Air New Zealand flight TE901 crashed into Mt Erebus in Antarctica in 1979.

Originally the crash was blamed on the pilots, but they were later exonerated in the Mahon report, a Royal Commission of Inquiry led by Justice Peter Mahon.

In 2009, then Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe apologised to the families of the victims. He admitted the airline had made mistakes in the aftermath of the tragedy and apologised to families who did not get enough support.

Despite the crash's place in our country's history, there is still no national memorial for the victims. 

After consultation with the victims' families, it was recently announced that a national memorial is planned to be constructed in Auckland's Dove-Myer Robinson Park, better known as the Parnell Rose Gardens. 

But that project too has been controversial, with locals saying it would destroy the ambiance of the park. 

The memorial would be funded by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and cost $3 million.

It is called Te Paerangi Ataata - Sky Song.

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