The Deputy Commissioner for Police Wally Haumata has issued an apology for comments he made dismissing Louise Nicolas' claim she was raped by police officers.
"It is important to say outright that I take responsibility for those comments, I deeply regret them, and I unreservedly apologise for the hurt and concern they have caused," he said in a statement.
"That does not reflect my view or the values I bring to the job every day."
In 2004, Ms Nicholas publicly alleged police officers Clint Rickards, Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum raped her as a teenager in the 1980s.
The officers were found not guilty in 2006. The jury had not been told Shipton and Schollum were already imprisoned on other rape charges.
During the 2004 Operation Austin investigation, Mr Haumaha described Ms Nicholas' allegation of gang rape as "nonsense" and said "nothing really happened and we have to stick together".
When Ms Nicholas found out about Mr Haumaha's appointment this year, she set up a meeting with him and Commissioner Mike Bush.
"I didn't hold back. I said, 'I've read your statement, Wally, and I know what you said. You put it out there about how wonderful these men were,'" Ms Nicholas told NZME.
The apology comes after Police Minister Stuart Nash described the comments on Friday as "deeply disappointing and... unacceptable."
The minister said he had not been aware of Mr Haumata's comments.