Willis leads Kiwis into opening ceremony
Sat, 28 Jul 2012 10:35a.m.
New Zealand's Olympians have marched into the main stadium in London in a spectacular opening ceremony to the 2012 Olympic Games.
Just over 60 New Zealand team members and officials took part, led by flag bearer Nick Willis wearing the ceremonial Maori cloak, and in their casual black uniform emblazoned with a silver fern and the constellation of the Southern Cross.
The outfit features the words of a Maori proverb Tini Whetuu, which loosely translated meant "a small cluster of warriors can defeat a great army".
Before entering the stadium behind Netherlands and before Nicaragua, the Kiwi athletes performed a haka for Willis.
The New Zealanders were given a rousing ovation from the crowd of more than 70,000.
The front line of Kiwi athletes behind Willis was made up largely of hockey players with veteran Phil Burrows prominent.
Many of New Zealand biggest medal hopes, including the rowers and sailors were missing from the parade, either watching it at their accommodation outside London or back at the athletes village as they prepared for competition on Saturday.
The women's hockey team, who play Australia early on Sunday morning missed the ceremony to preserve their sleep patterns but dressed up in the athletes' village prior to the event.
Some such as veteran triathlete Bevan Docherty, race walker Quentin Rew and sailor Olivia Powrie made a special trip to London join in.
The men's and women's soccer teams, in Manchester and Cardiff ahead of matches in the coming days, were among those to miss out.
Leading medal hopes rowing pair of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond were among the non-attendees to take to Twitter if only to say that despite wanting to stay up and watch they were off to bed ahead of racing on Saturday.
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