The Royal New Zealand Navy and the New Zealand Army will each fire a 21-gun salute on Waitangi Day at midday.
HMNZS WELLINGTON, currently at Waitangi, will fire a gun salute observing the 174th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. The New Zealand Army’s gun salute at Point Jerningham, Wellington, will observe the 62nd anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II.
The tradition of firing salutes grew from naval tradition. A warship would fire its cannons until all ammunition aboard was spent, demonstrating it was disarmed and it had no hostile intent. Today all salutes are fired with blank cartridges - be it artillery, ship’s guns, or small arms.
The only permanent saluting battery is at Point Jerningham in Wellington. The battery is made up of four modified 25 pounder guns and is manned by soldiers of the 16th Field Regiment Royal New Zealand Artillery.
Currently, the battery is used for five pre-planned salutes each year, marking occasions related to the Royal Family. In addition, the battery has fired salutes in support of state welcomes (usually conducted at Government House), official welcomes and ceremonies conducted at Parliament Buildings and salutes to visiting warships.
The battery is situated in a natural amphitheatre and members of the public are welcome to witness the salutes.
For more information, contact Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980.