The Last Post to be played until end of WWI centenary

Royal New Zealand Air Force Band musician Lex French plays the Last Post at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park
Audrey Seaman

Royal New Zealand Air Force Band musician Lex French plays the Last Post at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park

The wartime bugle call once used to close a day of battle will ring out over Wellington each evening of the remaining centenary days of World War I.

The Last Post ceremony will be held daily between 5pm and 6pm beside the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Buckle St until 

Armistice Day in 2018, which marks the close of war.  

Royal New Zealand Air Force Band musician leading aircraftsman Sarah Henderson said she played in the Last Post ceremony for the Anzac Day events and would continue to be one of the ceremony's buglers. 

"The playing of the Last Post is a very poignant part of the ceremony," she said.

"It originated in being played at military bases, in the British army. It was played at the end of the day, basically to call everyone back home."

It was a way of "calling the spirits home", Henderson said.  

"It's a part a lot of people can identify with. It's quite mournful music, and everyone knows the tune, so it's a chance to get in touch with how they personally feel and what their commemoration is about. 

"It could be for a loved one or for people who have fallen all those years ago.

"Throughout all cultures and religions, wind-blowing instruments have always been associated with calling those who have passed on." 

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The ceremony involves The Ode recited in Te Reo and English, the playing of the Last Post, the observation of a minute's silence and then The Rouse

Air force band musician corporal Lex French said he would play for many of the future daily ceremonies.

"It's probably one of the hardest things we have to do, to play with great tone, in tune and beautifully, to play something that means so much for so many people," he said. 

"I think about giving the sound back to the earth, especially when you're remembering the dead and remembering their sacrifice."

A New Zealand Defence Force spokeswoman said public attendance and community participation was encouraged in the ceremony.

Opportunities would be provided for non-defence force buglers and individuals or groups from the community would be welcomed to recite The Ode

 - Stuff

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