'A privilege': Jacinda Ardern's emotional reaction to Erebus memorial design

Jacinda Ardern says it's a "privilege" to play some part in the national Erebus tragedy memorial.

The design, titled 'Te Paerangi Ataata - Sky Song', was announced by the Prime Minister on Friday.

"I remember when I was first elected a discussion started around the Erebus disaster and why, almost 40 years on, there was still no national memorial in New Zealand that families could visit," she posted to Facebook on Saturday afternoon.

"We finally announced the design for a memorial, one which was chosen by a panel that importantly included representatives of the families, and which will be completed next year.

"It's been a long time coming but it's been a privilege to be a small part of it."

Her words have been praised as an example on "how to lead a country".

"I am very proud to have you as our leader, you are exceptional," one person commented.

"So pleased this is finally happening and so very overdue. Thanks Jacinda," another said.

In the proposal, the designers describe 'Te Paerangi Ataata - Sky Song' as a journey, with a walkway towards the horizon over Judges Bay.

"We look to the sky, and that sky is connected to the sky over Antarctica. The families waited and looked out to the sky, the lost departed into the sky, and their adventure was in the sky," they write.

"The movement out to the horizon, openness, and the sky represents the journey and adventurous spirit of the crew and passengers towards the unknown and the future: a celebration of life.

"The movement back to the land reveals the reverse face of the Ice Wall and presents the names of those who lost their lives in the tragic event."

The design includes cut-outs of 257 stainless steel snowflakes, which will be given to the families of the victims.