IN a secluded woodland glade at the rear of the Bulford Camp the New Zealand High Commissioner, Sir Jerry Mateparae accompanied by serving and retired military personnel, unveiled a heritage sign on the 100th Anniversary of the Bulford Kiwi.

Known as the Nga Tapuwae heritage sign, it commemorates the 100 years since the Bulford Kiwi was carved in to the hillside, and it remembers the New Zealand service men who were stationed there during WW1.

In a solemn and moving service led by the Reverend Nick Adley, 3 (UK) Div Chaplain, and conducted in English and Maori, praise was paid to the New Zealand soldiers who built the iconic Kiwi as they were waiting to return home in 1919.

The monument was completed on 28th June 1919, the day the Peace Treaty of Versailles was signed formally ending the First World War.

Readings were given by Oliver Thomas, a Year 6 student from Kiwi Primary School and Colleen Brown, author of ‘The Bulford Kiwi: The Kiwi We Left Behind’ and prime mover in the project.

Odes were read by Sheryl Jones of the NZHC and Major James Corns, Officer Commanding 249 (Gurkha) Signal Troop. The New Zealand National Anthem was sung in Maori by the children of Kiwi School.

In his speech, The High Commissioner said: “The memorial stands as a memorial to all those New Zealand soldiers who served here. Because the Kiwi is difficult to find, the New Zealand Government decided to add this site to our World War One heritage trail, this Ngā Tapuwae (which means ‘in their footsteps)’ sign will help to tell what happened here.”

The relationship between Bulford and New Zealand is important and over the years people, particularly 249 Signal Squadron, who have repaired the Kiwi. I would like to quote a Maori saying ‘People may be lost from sight, but the land remains to remind us’.”

For Colleen Brown, this was the culmination of a long period of hard work to see the project come to pass. “I am so glad that the sign has been erected, this will give visitors from New Zealand guidance and information on this important piece of our military history,”

A series of information boards have been erected to guide visitors to the Kiwi and give information about its history.