Lincoln University has apologised for the Nazi-themed dress of first-year students celebrating Oktoberfest at a halls of residence-run party.
The party, which, encouraged people to come dressed as "Germans" saw Lincoln University students dress in Nazi-themed costumes and as concentration camp prisoners.
Costumes featured slogans such as "Sieg Heil!" and "Hitler's my boi" and one guest was seen wearing a white top with swastikas.
One student said partygoers "were heiling to Hitler and making tasteless jokes about one of the darkest periods of human history".
The move has sparked an investigation by Lincoln University Vice-Chancellor Roger Field.
In a short statement to media, Prof Field apologised for any offence caused by the students.
He described the students' actions as "inappropriate and clearly falls short of acceptable behaviour".
Lincoln Students' Association president Megan Harte said the party was organised by the halls of residence.
"It was not an issue of racism or Nazi ideals, it was a lack of understanding," Ms Harte said.
She said many of the students who attended were first years and may not know have known what the "holocaust was all about".
She said the association had a policy to tell students to go home and get changed if they turn up to one of their parties in an inappropriate costume.
Ms Harte said it is up to the University and the halls of residence whether or not the students involved will face discipline.
The party was called an "abhorrent demonstration of ignorance", by the Jewish Council of New Zealand.
New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman said such trivialisation of the Holocaust was disappointing.
"It is not the first time and I doubt it will be the last either. In most of the cases we've found in New Zealand, it's generally through a degree of ignorance that this sort of behaviour eventuates. It is not through malicious intent."
- NZPA / NZ HERALD STAFF