10 Sep 2011

Impressive opening ceremony

3:04 pm on 10 September 2011

The opening ceremony for the Rugby World Cup impressed many of those inside Eden Park on Friday night.

The 25-minute show was created by David Atkins, who directed ceremonies at the Sydney Olympics and Vancouver Winter Olympics.

New Zealand's creation was highlighted as well as its cultural and rugby heritage.

Graphics and lights were used to transform the stadium field into mountains, shark-filled oceans, volcanoes and a backyard rugby pitch.

As well as Maori elements and references to the landscape, it included the story of a young grassroots rugby player.

The crowd of 60,000+ was also encouraged to join in by waving their mobile phones in unison.

Spectators say they were impressed with the atmosphere and tournament spirit.

Marketing advisor Mike Hutcheson says the ceremony did the country proud.

New Zealand was shown in a different light and it was a great promotion of the country to an international audience.

Mr Hutcheson says it was joyous and fun, which was a change from a lot of the subdued images of beautiful scenery usually associated with New Zealand.

The ceremony was followed by a fireworks display over Auckland lasting 12 minutes.

The fireworks were set off from the Sky Tower, four other buildings and from the Auckland Domain.

Organisers said 3.5 tonnes of fireworks were used to depict images of pohutakawa and kowhai flowers, nikau palms, ponga trees and kiwi.

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