Watch: Air New Zealand releases controversial new Antarctica-themed safety video featuring Entourage star Adrian Grenier

Air New Zealand has released its new Antarctic-themed safety video featuring Entourage star Adrian Grenier today.

For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

The Hollywood environmentalist, actor, director and UN Environment Ambassador, stars alongside Scott Base scientists and support staff in the video, which spotlights the critical importance of Antarctica in understanding the impacts of a warming world.

However, family of one of the people who died in the 1979 Erebus plane crash said the filming location was "very disrespectful".

On 28 November 1979 Air New Zealand Flight 901, a sightseeing flight that left Auckland, crashed into Mt Erebus, killing all 257 people on board.

Nicholas Bennett, whose father died in the accident, told NZ Herald said it was not "appropriate at all, no matter how they spin it".

Air New Zealand had emailed families of the victims, saying it had "approached filming in a very respectful way".

Director Kevin Denholm, says there were lots of challenges filming in the elements of Antarctica.

The clip is set in Antarctica, which some Erebus family members say is disrespectful. Source: 1 NEWS

"We are very conscious that Antarctica is of great significance to the families of those lost in the Mt Erebus tragedy and contacted family representatives to advise of the decision to film and the rationale behind this."

"The family members will be sent the safety video when it is completed prior to its public release," he said in a statement.

Air New Zealand says the safety video project and associated educational content builds on the airline's long-term partnership with Antarctica New Zealand and the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute, currently involving a major study of ecosystem resilience in the Ross Sea area.

Living and working alongside the Scott Base science community was a profound experience for the environmental campaigner, who said he jumped at the opportunity to take part in the project.

"Visiting Antarctica has been a life-long dream, and I feel privileged to be part of one of Air New Zealand's world-renowned safety videos, particularly this one, which is so well aligned to my own commitment to environmental issues," Grenier said.

"Filming in sub-zero conditions was intense, but it was an adventure I will carry with me forever. One unforgettable moment was stepping below the ice shelf to see the underwater life beneath in a scientific observation cylinder drilled through the ice."

Antarctica New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Peter Beggs says the new safety video and other video content will give millions globally greater awareness of Antarctic science, particularly as efforts to understand environmental change intensify.