12 Feb 2015

Crowds gather for Cricket World Cup

10:19 pm on 12 February 2015

The Cricket World Cup has been officially opened in Christchurch tonight in a colourful ceremony attended by tens of thousands of people and watched by millions around the world.

A general view of crowd gathering at the ICC Cricket World Cup Opening Ceremony in Hagley Park, Christchurch.

A general view of crowd gathering at the ICC Cricket World Cup Opening Ceremony in Hagley Park, Christchurch. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the city had sent a message to the world that it was back on its feet.

Some of New Zealand's top singing talent, including Hayley Westenra and Shapeshifter, performed, along with bagpipe music and dancing from the Indian subcontinent.

One feature of the evening was an onstage game of backyard cricket featuring the likes of Richie McCaw, Stephen Fleming and Sir Peter Jackson.

The ceremony is now nearing an end, with fireworks in just under half an hour to wrap up a night of musical performance and cultural display.

The on-field action begins on Saturday, with the opening game of the tournament between Sri Lanka and the Black Caps.

PM confident of security arrangements

Prime Minister John Key has said he is confident in the security arrangements for the Cricket World Cup.

Fourteen teams will play 49 matches in New Zealand and Australia over the next six weeks.

Police have said planning the security for the event has taken two years, and they have boosted CCTV coverage, tightened rules, and worked with international agencies such as Interpol.

Mr Key said he was confident all possible precautions were being taken.

"The authorities obviously take security very seriously when we're hosting an international event like the Cricket World Cup," he said.

"All the relevant agencies have been working on that for quite some time and I'm very confident that they know what they're doing and they've got the best security measures in place."

Fans celebrate at the opening ceremony for the Cricket World Cup in Christchurch.

Fans celebrate at the opening ceremony for the Cricket World Cup in Christchurch. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Crowds at Hagley Park

Crowds at Hagley Park Photo: RNZ / Patrick Phelps

Supporters turn out for Zimbabwe

Supporters turn out for Zimbabwe Photo: RNZ / Patrick Phelps

Indian dancers at the opening ceremony for the Cricket World Cup in Christchurch.

Indian dancers at the opening ceremony for the Cricket World Cup in Christchurch. Photo: RNZ / Patrick Phelps

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