The All Black Sevens were under pressure, for all of about two minutes, before taking control to dispatch Russia 35-10 in their opening match of the Paris Sevens.
Russia opted for the physical approach and that paid an early dividend when Denis Simplikevich busted through some weak defence for the opening try. That jolted New Zealand into action and they ran in five nice tries, the first of which saw Rieko Ioane burn his marker on the outside. Lewis Ormond scored a double and Akira Ioane set up two tries. The second showcased his long passing skills as he hit Dylan Collier on the chest from 30m.
Russia scored a late consolation try to Vladislav Sosonov, but this was a decent early Pool A display from New Zealand.
"We just needed to get our hands on the ball. I've got some potent players out there, so it's about possession," said coach Gordon Tietjens, adding that it will take some time for those coming in from 15s to adjust. Early indications are that the Ioane brothers are adjusting well enough.
In other results of a short day one at Stade Jean Bouin, Samoa hit their straps to thrash Wales 52-10, while the hosts France beat Canada 42-5. South Africa were too good, 24-5, for England, and Australia blanked Brazil 38-0. World Series leaders Fiji defeated Scotland 38-12.
New Zealand will complete their Pool A programme against Portugal, who had Kenya in trouble at 14-0 before the east Africans pulled clear to 29-14. That clash is set for 8.52pm tonight and just after midnight New Zealand face Kenya.
New Zealand 35 (Lewis Ormond 2, Rieko Ioane, Regan Ware, Dylan Collier tries; Gillies Kaka 4 con, Kurt Baker con) Russia 10 (Denis Simplikevich, Vladislav Sosonov tries) HT: 21-5