The New Zealand Defence Force, in partnership with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, is marking the First World War centenary each evening with a Last Post ceremony at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.
Every day at 5pm, a Last Post ceremony is conducted on the forecourt of the National War Memorial in Wellington. The service, which lasts approximately 7 minutes, incorporates the lowering of the two New Zealand flags at the Memorial, the playing of the Last Post, the observation of one minute’s silence and the recitation of the Ode of Remembrance in both te reo Māori and English.
The Last Post is a bugle call with two generally accepted purposes. The first is an implied summoning of the spirits of the fallen to the Cenotaph, the second symbolically ends the day.
Similar daily ceremonies have been conducted at the Menin Gate in Belgium and at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris since the 1920s, and a daily ceremony is also conducted at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
The ceremony is performed by the following:
- two Flag Orderlies who lower the two New Zealand flags in the forecourt of the memorial
- one Bugler who plays a bugle call immediately prior to the commencement of the ceremony and The Last Post, during the ceremony.
- one person with oversight of the ceremony, known in military parlance as the ‘IC’ or “in charge”
- two Ode Reciters who each recite the Ode to the Fallen, one in English and the second in te reo Māori
Any person can be a part of this daily remembrance and members of the public are welcome to lay floral tributes at the end of the ceremony.
The roles of the Flag Orderlies and the IC are performed by members of the New Zealand Defence Force, but the bugler and the Ode Reciter roles are open anyone who wants to be involved. On days where no member of the public has registered to participate, these roles will also be filled by New Zealand Defence Force personnel.
Individuals as well as groups are encouraged to participate in these ceremonies. If you would like to play the Last Post at the Ceremony or recite the Ode in either te reo Māori, or English, or both languages, then please complete the details requested on the form below and a representative of the New Zealand Defence Force will contact you to confirm details.
Updated on 24th July 2015