One of the offending billboards – which reads “Job’s done. Yeah Right.” – is visible to thousands of commuters on Auckland’s southern motorway as they pass through Ellerslie.
Jobs died yesterday aged 56, after a long battle with cancer.
But Tui said Jobs’ death and the choice of words on the billboard were a coincidence.
Spokeswoman Jo Jalfon said the billboard was put up on Monday and referred to the All Blacks beating France at the Rugby World Cup recently.
“At long last we’ve beaten the French, so that job was done – it was really sort of a play on a Rugby World Cup theme,” she said.
She accepted that the billboard was “somewhat ironic or unfortunate” given Jobs’ death.
“It certainly wasn’t put up in any reference to him, because obviously he died this morning.”
Among those who found the billboard offensive was One News reporter Ruth Wynn-Williams, who took to Twitter to say it was “perhaps the most bad taste Tui billboard yet”.
“Unreal. Have a little respect,” she wrote.
Wynn-Williams said she saw the billboard when she was driving down the motorway with a cameraman and was “incredibly taken aback by it”.
Ms Jalfon said the billboard was due to be changed next Monday, depending on the outcome of the All Blacks game, but it would not be coming down sooner because there was no time.
It could be painted over this weekend, however.
Tui said it had not received any comments or complaints about the billboard. But they have received a truck load of free publicity.