Defence Force To Fire 21-gun Salutes In Wellington To Mark Royal Occasions

Press Release – New Zealand Defence Force

New Zealand Army personnel will fire 21-gun salutes in Wellington at midday on 1, 2 and 10 June.

These will mark the Queen’s official birthday in New Zealand, the anniversary of the Queen’s coronation and the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip’s 99th birthday respectively.

The 21-gun salute to mark the Queen’s actual birthday on 21 April was cancelled because of Level 4 Covid-19 restrictions.

The gun salutes will be fired by personnel from the 16 Field Regiment, Royal New Zealand Artillery. The unit will adhere to Level 2 restrictions when firing the salutes.

All will be conducted from the Saluting Battery at Point Jerningham the only permanent saluting battery in New Zealand using four 25-pounder guns.

The site is located at Roseneath Memorial Park, below Roseneath School on Mt Victoria, Wellington. While Point Jerningham is in a public area, Covid-19 Level 2 gathering and spacing restrictions will apply for members of the public who wish to view the gun salute.

WHAT: 21-gun salutes

WHERE: Pt Jerningham, Mt Victoria, Wellington


Background information:

The practice of firing gun salutes grew from naval tradition. An approaching warship would fire its cannons to show that its guns were empty, demonstrating they were unloaded and they had no hostile intent. Today all salutes are fired with blank cartridges be it artillery, ship’s guns, or small arms.

There is little difference between gun salutes. A 21-gun salute is the most commonly recognised of the customary gun salutes that are performed by the firing of cannons or artillery as a military honour. One slight difference is that while Royals and heads of state always receive 21-gun salutes, heads of government receive 19-gun salutes.

The unit that fires the gun salutes that the New Zealand Army has been tasked with is 16th Field Regiment. If the salute is conducted at Pt Jerningham, where about 80 per cent of salutes are conducted, the four 25-pounder guns that are stored at that location are used. If the salute is conducted elsewhere, eg Government House, four 105mm L119 Light Guns are used. Salutes conducted in Auckland are generally fired by the Royal New Zealand Navy.

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