The chief executive of Lyttelton Port Company says improvements need to be made at "every level" of the organisation.
The company, which is owned by the investment arm of the Christchurch City Council, this week released the findings of a scathing review into workplace culture at the port.
It found evidence of bullying, sexism, racism and homophobia.
LPC chief executive, Roger Gray, has been in the role since February 2020.
He told the Herald the report was "sobering".
"Clearly there is a lot to do at LPC. At every level we have things to improve, every level we can do better," he said.
"We've got pockets of bad behaviours, pockets of unacceptable behaviour."
Gray said LPC's "journey of change" was like several organisations across New Zealand, identifying the Civil Aviation Authority and Fire and Emergency as examples, struggling with "cultural issues".
He said some of the comments in the report, many of which were verbatim, were "disturbing".
"I think there is a history of behaviour at the waterfront that has probably been normalised in some people's minds."
Before taking up the role as chief executive, Gray said he knew the waterfront was a "tough environment".
"I probably wasn't aware of the depth of the actual allegations and insights we have got from the independent review."
Given the seriousness of many comments, the Herald asked Gray if as of now LPC was a safe place to work for females, non-Pakeha and members of the LGBT community.
"I do believe that Lyttelton is a safe place to work," he said.
"What I will say is there are some pockets of behaviour that aren't acceptable and we are going to address those through training and, if necessary, we will investigate specific allegations and address those through a disciplinary process, but overall, I would say this is a safe workplace."
The Herald also asked if disciplinary action had been taken as a result of the review.
"We've only just received the review, so we are going through the process of reviewing the recommendations, ensuring that we deeply understand it, in the New Year we will release an action," he said.
"It is then we will look at specific allegations and make decisions on whether we need to take disciplinary action. It's too early at this stage to take that action."
Gray would be holding 17 meetings with staff across LPC over the next week to brief them on the review and what the company was doing next.
"There is stuff that has to improve. We are going to get cracking on it."
Christchurch City Holdings Limited and the Christchurch City Council refused to comment on the review. Mayor Lianne Dalziel said it would be "inappropriate" for her to comment as LPC operated as a stand-alone commercial company with its own board of directors.
Meanwhile, Gray also spoke the result of an investigation into allegations of serious and sustained bullying leading up to the death of container controller Katrina Hey last year.
Family members alleged bullying led Hey to take her own life on Christmas Day.
The investigation, led by barrister Amy Keir, found no evidence to support the allegation of serious and sustained bullying or to link actions by Hey's manager or supervisor to her death.
But Gray said the report indicated there was "much work to do" around mental health, support for employees and mental health education for managers.
Gray said he met the Hey family yesterday before the investigation's findings were released.