Screengrab from video

Wellington - Air New Zealand's latest safety video has been described as "offensive" and it should be withdrawn, a leading environmentalist said Friday.

The "World's Coolest Safety Video" shows former Entourage actor and environmentalist Adrian Grenier venturing to Antarctica to learn about its climate and the scientific work being done there.

But the airline got it "really badly wrong," the UN's patron of oceans and endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh told Radio New Zealand (RNZ) on Friday.

The British-South African urged Air New Zealand's chief executive "to show leadership and to withdraw this safety video immediately."

Air New Zealand spokeswoman Jodi Williams said the airline has supported Antarctic science for close to a decade.

However, Pugh, who helped create the world's largest protected area in the Ross Sea off Antarctica in 2016, said the video portrayed the continent as the next adventure playground filled with planes, helicopters and snowmobiles.

"Let's be very clear, it is not," Pugh said.

"Antarctica is a unique eco-system and it's very precious. It has already been heavily impacted by climate change and pollution."

He also said it was "deeply disturbing" that the safety video was filmed a few kilometres away from Mount Erebus, the site where an Air New Zealand plane crashed in 1979 killing all 257 people on board.

The video has upset some of the Erebus victims' families.

Nicholas Bennett, whose father was the chief purser on the fatal flight, told RNZ on Thursday that the video was "offensive and very disrespectful."