New Zealand's highest-paid sportsman is touring Northland to show off his homeland to his US teammates.

Steven Adams, the 24-year-old centre of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team, was welcomed to the Treaty Grounds on Tuesday along with teammate and close friend Andre Roberson, assistant coach Andrew Johns, and their entourage.

Watch the video of Adams' Waitangi viist here:

Rotorua-born Oklahoma City Thunder basketball player Steve Adams - New Zealand's best earning sportsman - is taking his US team-mates on a tour of Northland

The genial giant is in Northland to cap off his annual trip home which this year included a golf tournament in Auckland and children's training camps in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, each of which drew at least 500 basketball-mad kids.

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The group was given a quick tour of the Treaty Grounds by guide Dan Busby of Kaikohe and a welcome at Te Whare Runanga (the carved meeting house) by cultural group Te Pitowhenua. Roberson, who is on his second visit to New Zealand, accepted the challenge.

After checking out the great waka Ngatokimatawhaorua the group headed to Charlotte's Kitchen in Paihia for lunch, then relaxed on the beach at Waitangi.

Adams said it was his first visit to the Treaty Grounds so it was good to see it for himself and "put the pieces together."

Oklahoma City Thunder player Andre Roberson accepts the challenge laid down by Marsh King of Kaikohe. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF
Oklahoma City Thunder player Andre Roberson accepts the challenge laid down by Marsh King of Kaikohe. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF

"I tell them [my teammates] the history of New Zealand. It's good for them to be here physically and experience it. We learnt a lot in terms of the Treaty and how it was back in those days," he said.

Anything he could show Americans about New Zealand was good, "because it helps with what we're trying to do, which is teach people that New Zealand is awesome, we have internet and stuff like that, we don't live in grass huts."

Adams said the rest of the group's low-key Northland visit would involve a "tiki tour and showing them a good time".

The Oklahoma City Thunder group walks on to the Treaty Grounds, led by Spencer Webster and Mori Rapana, with players Andre Roberson and Steven Adams behind. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF
The Oklahoma City Thunder group walks on to the Treaty Grounds, led by Spencer Webster and Mori Rapana, with players Andre Roberson and Steven Adams behind. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF

"I feel good when I bring people over who are pretty much my family in America now, and teach them about New Zealand and get them to experience what I experienced growing up."

The Treaty Grounds had hosted plenty of VIPs in the past but, as a lifelong basketball fan, chief executive Greg McManus said this one had particular personal significance.

Mr McManus lived in Rotorua, Adams' hometown, for 15 years and coached one of his sisters basketball while his wife taught three of his siblings at Rotorua Lakes High School.

Guide Dan Busby points out the sights at the Treaty Grounds. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF
Guide Dan Busby points out the sights at the Treaty Grounds. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF

It was, however, the first time he had met Adams.

"He was very friendly and you could see the respect he and Andre [Roberson] had for the powhiri."

The Northland leg of the tour is organised by New Zealand Maori Tourism. Yesterday the group had a day on the water in the Bay of Islands - Adams is a keen fisherman - and today they are expected to head to the Hokianga and Waipoua Forest.

Head coach Billy Donovan flew home on Sunday before the group got to Northland.

Assistant coach Andrew Johns, left, and Steven Adams outside Te Whare Runanga. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF
Assistant coach Andrew Johns, left, and Steven Adams outside Te Whare Runanga. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF

The life so far of Steven Adams, who is of Tongan and English descent and counts double Olympic gold medalist Valerie Adams among his 17 siblings, is the quintessential rags to riches story.

The teenage Adams went off the rails after the death of his father, an older brother eventually rescuing him from the streets of Rotorua and getting him a place in a Wellington basketball academy.

In 2013 he was selected by Oklahoma City Thunder, making him the first Kiwi selected in the first round of an NBA draft.

In 2016 he was awarded a four-year, US$100 million ($138m) contract extension, which works out at $34.5m a year.