The Catholic Church has for the first time formally apologised to survivors of abuse within the church.
Cardinal John Dew made the apology at the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care on behalf of the bishops and congregational leaders in New Zealand.
He says the church can offer no excuses for the actions of the church that caused harm.
Cardinal Dew says the abuse was perpetrated by people, such as priests, brothers and sisters and lay people that victims should have been able to trust.
He acknowledged the abuse caused pain, hurt and trauma which continues to impact on their lives.
Cardinal Dew described the abuse as unacceptable and indefensible and that the church is deeply sorry.