New Plymouth stands at dawn to commemorate first Anzac Day without service


Trevor Bremner plays the Last Post from his driveway on Carrington Street.

BRODY DOLAN/STUFF

Trevor Bremner plays the Last Post from his driveway on Carrington Street.

On a chilly New Plymouth morning, a dark and deserted street greeted me. 

It wasn’t until I could hear the distant sound of the Last Post from the next street over that I knew I wasn’t alone. Then another. This was Anzac Day as the country had never seen before. 

Thousands of people across the country stood in their driveways at dawn, in their Covid-19 bubbles, on Saturday, after commemoration services were cancelled last month.

And although I couldn’t see anyone standing on my road, around the corner on Carrington Street people came out and listened to New Plymouth Brass Band member Trevor Bremner play the Last Post.

People rugged up warm and stood at the end of their driveways in New Plymouth.

BRODY DOLAN/STUFF

People rugged up warm and stood at the end of their driveways in New Plymouth.

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The New Plymouth Cenotaph, which is usually surrounded by hundreds of people for the dawn service, stood alone. 

Brass band director Fraser Bremner was with his dad, Trevor, and said their street was lined with people rugged up to pay their respects.

“There were people lined up outside their houses down Carrington St and they were all looking down towards our house,” Fraser said. 

“It’s a given that everyone would prefer to have the actual service itself at the cenotaph, but for what it is, it was pretty successful.” 

It was an Anzac Day like no other as people stayed in their Covid-19 bubbles to pay their respects.

BRODY DOLAN/STUFF

It was an Anzac Day like no other as people stayed in their Covid-19 bubbles to pay their respects.

Other members of the brass band stood in their own driveways around the city to play, with one on Huatoki St echoing Trevor. 

The band had an online group chat, and Fraser said members had messaged to say while playing the Last Post, they could hear others. 

“They could hear other brass musicians in the background, so obviously it’s been happening all around New Plymouth.”

As a nice surprise, members of the Ars Nova Choir stood on the opposite side of the Bremner’s street and sang the National Anthem and We’ll Meet Again.

“It was a pretty amazing experience,” Fraser said.

Dogs barked and a round of applause sounded in the streets before people slipped quietly back inside their homes for the remaining three days of the lockdown.