Beaming Willis leads NZ into opening

13:38, Jul 28 2012
Opening Ceremony
The Olympic Stadium prepares for the Opening Ceremony.
Opening Ceremony
Spectators begin to arrive for at the Olympic Stadium.
Opening Ceremony
Frank Turner performs as people arrive for the Opening Ceremony.
Opening Ceremony
The Red Arrows aerobatic display team fly over the Olympic Stadium.
Opening Ceremony
Floating clouds are escorted through the stadium prior to the start of the ceremony.
Opening Ceremony
Performers depict a view of the English countryside.
Opening Ceremony
Performers entertain the crowd before the ceremony starts.
Opening Ceremony
Performers act out a scene from ancient times.
Opening Ceremony
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the Opening Ceremony.
Opening Ceremony
Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins rings a giant bell to start the Opening Ceremony.
Opening Ceremony
Performers depict a view of the English countryside.
Opening Ceremony
An aerial view of the Olympic Stadium.
Opening Ceremony
Performers act out a scene from old England.
Opening Ceremony
Performers depict a view from the change of the English countryside to the Industrial Revolution.
Opening Ceremony
Blazing Olympic rings are raised over the stadium.
Opening Ceremony
The Olympic rings are lit up in a shower of sparks.
Opening Ceremony
A performer abseils down a chimney during a scene from the Industrial Revolution.
Opening Ceremony
A performer playing the Queen parachutes into the stadium from a helicopter.
Opening Ceremony
The Union flag is carried into the stadium.
Opening Ceremony
Children perform as part of a storybook scene in the Opening Ceremony.
Opening Ceremony
A giant Voldemort puppet during the storybook scene.
Opening Ceremony
Performers depicting Mary Poppins float into the stadium.
Opening Ceremony
Rowan Atkinson performs during the Opening Ceremony.
Opening Ceremony
Fireworks go off over Tower Bridge.
Opening Ceremony
The royal family take in the Opening Ceremony.
Opening Ceremony
A boat carrying the Olympic flame and David Beckham makes its way under Tower Bridge.
Opening Ceremony
Basketballer Lauren Jackson leads Australia into the Olympic Stadium.
Opening Ceremony
Chinese athletes cheer as they enter the Olympic Stadium.
Opening Ceremony
Canada's flagbearer Simon Whitfield leads the contingent in the athletes parade.
Opening Ceremony
Argentina make their way into the stadium.
Opening Ceremony
A wide angle shot shows the spectacular scenes at the Olympic Stadium.
Opening Ceremony
Usain Bolt leads Jamaica into the Olympic Stadium.
Opening Ceremony
Germany enter the stadium in their colourful uniforms.
Opening Ceremony
Nick Willis leads New Zealand into the Olympic Stadium.
Opening Ceremony
Nick Willis proudly waves the New Zealand flag as the team enters the stadium.
Opening Ceremony
The New Zealand Olympic team enters the stadium during the Opening Ceremony.
Opening Ceremony
Members of Spain's Olympic team salute the camera as they enter the stadium.
Opening Ceremony
Sir Chris Hoy lead Great Britain into the stadium to conclude the procession.
Opening Ceremony
The United States enter the stadium.
Opening Ceremony
LeBron James and Chris Paul of the United States basketball team take in the atmosphere.
Opening Ceremony
Fireworks explode over the Olympic Stadium.
Opening Ceremony
Confetti rains down as Britain's flag bearer Chris Hoy holds the national flag
Opening Ceremony
Fireworks go off around the Olympic Stadium as the Queen announces the 2012 London Games officially open.
Opening Ceremony
The flags of all the Olympic nations decorate the hill in the Olympic Stadium.
Opening Ceremony
Five time gold medal winner Steve Redgrave of Britain carries the Olympic flame into the stadium.
Opening Ceremony
The Olympic cauldron is lit.
Opening Ceremony
Fireworks go off around London as the Opening Ceremony comes to an end.

A beaming Nick Willis carried New Zealand's flag into London's Olympic Stadium, proudly leading a small Kiwi contingent around the track as the Games opened in a blaze of colour.

New Zealand was 134th of the 204 nations to circle the track of the 80,000-capacity stadium, still rocking from director Danny Boyle's $54 million show which sparked the opening ceremony into life on a cool London evening.

Led by Beijing 1500m silver medallist Willis, wearing the traditional Maori cloak, the team arrived at 11.20pm (local time), in between The Netherlands and Nicaragua.

The New Zealanders wore a classic black uniform emblazoned with the silver fern and the constellation of the Southern Cross.

It was designed by prominent Maori artist Rangi Kapa, and features the words of a Maori proverb which loosely translates: "a small cluster of warriors can defeat a great army".

It was indeed a small cluster, as team officials had earlier confirmed just 39 of the New Zealand team's 184 athletes had chosen to march.

Some had their first day of competition looming, others, like defending women's shot put gold medallist Valerie Adams, was training elsewhere in Europe with her event not happening until the second week.

Of the other nations, Jamaica received one of the biggest cheers, thanks to their choice of flagbearer, sprint superstar Usain Bolt.

Cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy carried Great Britain's flag as they arrived last, while basketball giant Lauren Jackson got the honour of being Australia's flagbearer.

The athletes marched to songs including Adele's Rolling In The Deep, Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees, Pet Shop Boys' West End Girls and Heroes by David Bowie.

Earlier, 7500 volunteers from around the world, with every continent represented, played out Boyle's extravaganza which was two years in the making.

The director, of Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire fame, appeared for a brief cameo to implore the audience to have fun, and to hope it didn't rain.

It was too late on the latter score as the 30degC heatwave of the past few days gave way to a short, sharp shower that christened the Olympic Stadium.

Boyle's show celebrated Britain's long, colourful history with an emphasis on music and film, with help from cameos from actors Daniel Craig, as James Bond, and Rowan Atkinson, who gatecrashed a rendition of Chariots of Fire by the London Symphony Orchestra.

Queen Elizabeth also made an appearance in the crowd's favourite scene, when Craig appeared in  Buckingham Palace as James Bond to the Queen's words: "Good evening, Mr Bond".

The pair then boarded a helicopter and appeared to parachute into the stadium. The Queen and IOC president, Jacques Rogge, appeared in their VIP seats soon afterwards.

Footballing megastar David Beckham appeared on the big screen driving the Olympic torch down the River Thames in a speedboat.

Britain's new national hero, Tour de France cycling champion Bradley Wiggins, got things under way by tolling the 23-tonne Olympic bell.

His compatriot, Mark Cavendish, is a warm favourite to give Great Britain an early gold medal in the road race later tonight, which also features New Zealanders Greg Henderson and Jack Bauer.

Boyle began the show by transforming the stadium floor into England's green and pleasant land, with rolling, green fields and cottages reminiscent of Peter Jackson's Hobbiton.

Sheep, horses and ducks dotted the scene alongside villagers in period costume.

It then cut to a grimy scene the usher in the Industrial Revolution as huge, soot-stained chimneys transformed into the Olympic rings, blazing with sparks.

The Beatles and Queen highlighted a montage of the best of British, musically, as thousands of dancers flooded the main arena.

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