A Northland carver and artist has had his worked displayed in front of millions at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

Rotorua-born shot putter Valerie Adams led the New Zealand team into the Celtic Park Stadium in Glasgow on Friday proudly wearing a taonga (treasure) designed and carved by Rangi Kipa.

Kipa recently moved to Northland from Whakatane.

He had been working with the New Zealand Olympic Committee for six years.


He has designed artwork for the athletes' village, uniforms and taonga for the country's flagbearers and athletes for the past summer and winter Olympic campaigns and the Commonwealth Games.

He was briefed to do a piece for whoever was chosen to carry the New Zealand flag in Glasgow.

He said he didn't know who the flagbearer was going to be when he was commissioned, so he had to make sure the piece could be worn by either a female or a male.

"The whale tooth was given to me as a koha [gift] for a ta moko that I did and the puhoro design, is a well-known reference in the Maori world for a design used on the warrior class. It represents the idea of strength, tenacity and those sort of qualities you find in a leader."

Kipa said he received a hint that Adams was going to be the flagbearer about a week before the opening but he wasn't officially told until a few days before.

"I think it's great [Adams] was chosen. She is definitely in a class of her own. Look at her achievements.

"She has a long list of international and national titles and is well deserving of the position," he said.