The Primates of the Anglican Church say some of the historical abuse of people in its care was ignored or covered up by the church.
The three archbishops - representing Tikanga Pakeha, Tikanga Māori and Tikanga Pasifika, the three equal houses of the Church - have made a formal apology to survivors at the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care.
They recognised that abuse had taken place in their Church.
Archbishop Donald Tamihere said the abuse was horrific, shameful and completely unacceptable.
"Was carried out by cruel, manipulative and predacious people. They took advantage of the positions of trust they were given, and used these positions to prey on the weak and vulnerable. Such behaviour is indefensible and completely antithetical to the Gospel we believe in and the values we uphold.
"On behalf of the church that they represented and we represent, we want to say that we completely reject what they have done as being incompatible with our beliefs and values."
Archbishop Tamihere said it was and is completely unacceptable and they apologised unequivocally.
He said there was some evidence that some offending was ignored or covered up within the church.
"To have ignored or covered up abuse is deplorable and sickening," he said
"This means that people within our Church failed to protect those in its care and also clearly failed to hold some perpetrators to account."
He said survivors had to live with the consequences of the trauma they suffered for decades.
"This suffering is almost impossible to comprehend."
"We want to extend our deepest sympathy and sorrow to you for all that has happened. We apologise unequivocally."
Tamihere also apologised to the families of those abused who had also carried the long-term consequences of abuse.
"We are sorry this has happened and we want to do all that we can to ensure that it never ever happens again.
"On behalf of the Church that they represented and we represent we want to say that we completely reject what they have done as being incompatible with our beliefs and values."