Auckland bugler performs Last Post on Anzac Day to dead

Auckland brass player Sergeant Bill Rimmer has performed the Last Post on Anzac Day for more than 30 years.

Usually, he plays it to remember the dead. This time he played it to them.

Sgt Rimmer had a job to do this morning and even pandemic rules couldn't stop the 71-year-old doing his duty.

Like any other ANZAC Day he warmed up his cornet just before 6am, but this year he made his way in the dark to an empty Bayswater Cemetery.

There, he joined other locals at the foot of two Maori soldiers' graves to play the haunting tune he knows so well.

"The first four notes are very dark, but then it moves into some lovely trumpet fanfare passages which are really nice to play," he says.

Sgt Rimmer started learning the cornet when he was just nine. He joined the Royal New Zealand Artillery Band in 1989 and has performed with them every Anzac Day since.

The Last Post is his speciality.

"I had a little tally up the other day, it's probably close to 400 times. You'd get pretty good after 400 times? Well yes but you still make the odd blip!" he says.

The medals he wears on his chest are his father's who fought in northern France with the British Army.

"My father lied about his age and he actually went to war when he was 16," he says.

It's his dad and the many others who went to war that Sgt Rimmer remembers as he plays - the last bars in particular.

"For me, that says thank you, thank you for what you did for our country, you will never be forgotten. We will remember them."

As the sun rose, Sgt Rimmer packed up his case, knowing that even if he hadn't performed to a crowd of thousands this year, he had still said his thank-you for another year.