The Governor Grey statue in Albert Park has been attacked in what is being called an "unacceptable" act of vandalism.
An image of Sir George Grey's statue was posted to Reddit on Tuesday, showing it coated with red paint.
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"If there is any symbolic meaning (which isn't necessarily the case as it could be random vandals) I would assume its meant to be blood of Māori / indigenous people," one person commented.
According to the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Sir George's reputation has been tarnished by "his policies in Taranaki, his invasion of Waikato, and the massive confiscation (raupatu) of Māori land which followed".
"The confiscations, in particular, caused decades of bitterness and deep division."
But Auckland Council responded to Newshub with a strongly-worded statement saying vandalism is "unacceptable".
"Acts of vandalism are unacceptable and it's especially disappointing to see these directed toward public art. We encourage people to report any vandalism to (09) 301 0101," public art manager Emily Trent said.
"In the meantime, we are working with our contractors to remove the graffiti as quickly as possible."
The vandalism comes after Christopher Columbus statues in the US were similarly covered with red paint.
The 15th-century navigator was one of the first Europeans to reach the Americas, however Native American activists say his arrival spurred centuries of genocide against indigenous populations.
A statue in Rhode Island was coated with the paint with a sign at its base reading "Stop celebrating genocide".
And in San Francisco, a Columbus statue was vandalized with red paint messages written on the concrete base reading "Destroy all monuments of genocide" and "Kill all colonizers".