A 21-gun-salute marking the anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne is being criticised for being held on the same day as Waitangi Day.
The planned salute at Waitangi and Point Jerningham, in Wellington, is being carried out tomorrow to mark the anniversary of the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth II, New Zealand's head of state.
But two Wellington City councillors have questioned whether the salute is appropriate on the same day the nation acknowledges Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Councillor Tamatha Paul said Waitangi Day was a day to reflect on shared history and the partnership between the Crown and Māori.
"Gun salutes are really inappropriate given the damage and carnage caused by guns and the whole process of colonisation.
"Whether guns were in the hands of the Crown or Māori to ourselves, I think a lot of needless pain occurred when guns came to New Zealand.
"So I think the symbolic nature of a gun salute on a day that's highly controversial, and that asks us to reflect on our history as a country, is really distasteful."
A Defence Force spokesperson said it was coincidental the anniversary of the accession occurred on February 6.
"The accession occurred on the death of the Queen's father, King George VI, on 6 February 1952 and has been marked since then in New Zealand and around the Commonwealth.
"It is an annual, long-standing tasking and carried out on behalf of the New Zealand Government."
Firing salutes grew from naval tradition. A warship would fire its cannon to show its guns were empty, demonstrating they were unloaded and it had no hostile intent, the Defence Force spokesperson said.
In Wellington, saluting guns were moved from Alexandra Military Barracks in Mt Cook to Point Jerningham in 1925.
City councillor and Māori partnerships portfolio leader Jill Day shared Paul's concerns.
"More people are starting to question our history and what we think is acceptable moving forward.
"It's really the symbolism around the guns being used, obviously it's tradition, but for Māori the introduction of guns into the country didn't have a good impact."
There are four more planned salutes at the Point Jerningham battery in Wellington this year to celebrate members of the royal family on occasions such as birthdays and the Queen's coronation.