25 Apr 2024

Watch: Attendees at New Plymouth's Anzac Day dawn service lift car by hand

11:06 am on 25 April 2024

A group of people attending New Plymouth's Anzac Day dawn service have had to manually lift a car before proceedings could begin.

Posted by Reuben Doyle on a Ngāmotu Facebook community page, about 15 attendees were seen lifting the car and putting it back down 2m to the side.

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In true Anzac spirit, New Plymouth RSA president and veteran Graham Chard could be heard rallying the troops.

"Kia ora whānau, do we have any muscle men out there please? We need a few hands. Come on, the more hands the better - let's go!" he said.

"1...2...3," he announced over the speakers, before the failed attempt prompted more help.

"We need some more hands, come on, whānau."

Eventually, a group of about 15 gathered around the 2009 Mitsubishi hatchback, lifted it and moved the car a couple of metres away.

Chard told RNZ the car had been parked in the "worst possible place".

"It was right at the bottom of the steps, leading up to where the speakers are, right in the middle of where the wreath-layers come out to get their wreaths," he said.

"[The car was] right in the centre of where the lights are positioned for the crosses and the flags, so that people actually couldn't get up onto the upper level to be able to conduct their part of the service."

Chard said they tried finding the owner and getting the car removed by other means, but were out of luck and running out of time.

"5am is a hard time on Anzac morning to try and find a tow truck and we needed to get it out of the way.

"We identified a couple of police who were preparing to march on the parade, we've got authority to be able to shift the car ... and mobilised as many people as we needed to be able to pick the car up and move it far enough away."

Attendees at New Plymouth's 2024 Anzac Day service lift a car blocking the view.

A group of about 15 gathered, lifted and moved the car a couple of metres away. Photo: Supplied / Reuben Doyle

Chard said the car could not have been parked by accident there, because cones had been set up overnight to block the street.

"It seems that somebody had decided that they were going to move the cone, park their car, so that when we turned up at 4.45 [am], there's a car parked right in the middle of the parade.

"We're lucky that we had thousands and thousands and thousands of people who were there for the dawn service, so, people were quite prepared to stand up and help us out."

Chard said he "hoped that [the car's owner] would be embarrassed" considering the disturbance it caused at the event - "one of the most important commemorative services that we have on our national calendar".

They would find out if the car had been claimed by the second service of the day, at 10am.

Once the car was moved, Chard said the service went well, and as a military veteran he was touched by the huge turnout of young and old commemorating the ultimate sacrifice of servicepeople for 109 years.

"It makes us feel really, really proud to have done what we have done and really grateful that the community recognises our service and the service of all the people that have gone before us," he said.

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