Air New Zealand's new inflight safety video is being filmed in Antarctica - and families of the Erebus crash victims have mixed emotions ranging from "offensive" to "fantastic".
The family of David John Bennett, a crew member on the Air New Zealand DC10 flight which flew into the slopes of Mt Erebus on November 28, 1979, is criticising Air New Zealand's new safety video filmed near the location of the crash as "offensive".
However, Air New Zealand says the new safety video will raise awareness of enviromental and scientific issues. It has written to families of the Erebus victims and says it has received "very positive" feedback from them.
Aucklander Nicholas Bennett was just 6 when his father died in the Mt Erebus disaster.
All 257 people on board the sightseeing flight - 237 passengers and 20 crew - were killed. The crash is considered the country's worst civil disaster.
When he received an email from Air New Zealand last week about the airline's next safety video having been filmed in Antarctica, Bennett said he was appalled.
"I don't think it's appropriate at all, no matter how they spin it, it's very disrespectful."
The video was filmed as part of Air New Zealand's partnership with Antarctica New Zealand and the Antarctic Research Institute.
The partnership supports scientific and environmental research and the airline said the video would help highlight ongoing science projects.
The email, sent to the families of those killed in the tragedy, acknowledged the "sensitivities" of choosing Antarctica as a location.
"The Erebus tragedy weighs heavily on Air New Zealand and our country, and we would like to assure you we have approached filming in a very respectful way," it read.
Locations had been carefully chosen to avoid featuring Mt Erebus as well as memorial sites built since the accident and the company had aimed at reducing its environmental impact while filming.
But Bennett suspected Air New Zealand was trying to "change the country's perspective on the disaster" and said the news came as a blow to him, his sister and his mother.
"Basically they've let us know once it's been done, the plan's been made. They could have at least tried to approached us to see how we felt about it beforehand," he said.
"Even though they're saying the crash site is not in the film, the memorial is not in the film... These ads are generally quite light hearted - it seems that they're just trying to put a spin on it."
Air New Zealand chief operational integrity and standards officer David Morgan backed the company's latest project - claiming the company was "very conscious" that Antarctica was of great significance to the families.
"We have received some positive responses from family members we have communicated with but this has been the only feedback to date expressing concerns about the project."
Morgan said feedback from other families said it was "fantastic" a special place was being shared with others.
"Thanks for the update and we are looking forward to seeing the video," another family had responded.
However, Bennett said he was sure other families would share his anger over the tone and basis of the project.
"Really if anything comes out from Air New Zealand and Antarctica it should be admission of the cover up its liability," he said.
Morgan said the company would be making contact with Bennett directly about his concerns.