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TO mark the centenary of the Battle of Messines the Bulford Kiwi carved into the hillside has been protected as a scheduled monument.

The large chalk figure was created by New Zealand soldiers stationed at Bulford Camp in Wiltshire at the end of the First World War while they were waiting to go home. It commemorates the lives lost and sacrifices made in the war.

The chalk Kiwi stands 420 feet high (130m) and has a 150 feet (46m) long beak.

The Battle of Messines (June 7– 14) was an attack on the Western Front near the village of Messines in West Flanders, Belgium and New Zealand troops played a significant role in this battle. It resulted in the capture of the Wytschaete-Messines ridge south of Ypres, a feature that was important to hold for future offensive operations in Flanders and began with one of the heaviest artillery bombardments of the First World War and the explosion of 19 giant underground mines.

The chalk kiwi was protected as a scheduled monument by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England.

A second monument, known as The Terrain Model of Messines in Cannock Chase in Staffordshire which survives as archaeological remains has also been granted protection.

Roger Bowdler, director of listing at Historic England said: "These two monuments pay tribute to the bravery of New Zealand's fighting forces in the First World War and we are delighted that they are now being protected for the future. The Bulford Kiwi was cut into the chalk at the end of the war by Kiwi soldiers themselves, to mark the presence of their forces in England, and their achievements at the front.

“It is an incredibly touching sight, and a moving tribute to men who lost their lives far from home. The taking of the Messines ridge was one of the war's most stirring attacks, and this model lay-out remains as testimony to the planning which made possible the victory. Like so much of our historic environment, these lasting reminders enable us to connect with lives and events from the past that made us who we are as a nation. One hundred years on, it is right to remember New Zealand's valour.”

Sir Jerry Mateparae, the New Zealand High Commissioner to the UK added: “It’s fantastic to see Historic England protecting two very significant sites of huge importance for New Zealand. The special connections that were forged 100 years ago, with communities in the UK where New Zealanders trained, are still strong today and it’s moving to see these sites protected for generations to come.”