For our athletes, the Rio Olympics moved a step closer last night with the unveiling of the official uniform of the New Zealand team.

The range, designed by local artist and designer Shane Hansen, is dominated by classic black but also features sweeps of green and blue and references to the Southern Cross.

First time Olympian Caitlin Ryan was impressed, indicating that New Zealand has stolen a sartorial march on their rivals.

Fashion editor Dan Ahwa shares his views on NZ Olympic outfit


"There's a great range," said the kayaker. "It looks great and and it's comfortable - which for athletes is the most important thing. I love the colours and it works for all body shapes and sizes, so they have considered everything."

Javelin exponent Stuart Farquhar, who will be competing in his fourth Olympics in Rio, was a first time model last night.

"It was good to get out there, be part of the occasion," said Farquhar. "I like it - I think it is smart. There is a good range, everything from the formal wear to the tracksuit."

Ryan and Farquhar were among eight athletes that modelled the new design at the Prime Minister's annual Olympic Gala dinner in Auckland.

Hansen said his design started from a 'stadium of ideas', and also included focus groups with athletes.

"My inspiration was our motu, our land, and the journey our athletes take as they travel from New Zealand to Rio where they will test themselves against the world's best," said Hansen.

"I wanted to draw on who we are and where we come from and use these references in the clothing."

More than 21,000 items have been produced for the wider team, which comprises 350 athletes and support staff members.

The range, manufactured by Chinese sportswear firm PEAK, includes performance shorts, leggings, T-shirts, casual jogging pants, track suit pants and hoodies, as well as footwear, bags, formal and ceremony wear.

The official track suit is also featured which athletes will wear on the medal podium and the iconic black singlet completes the range.

The opening ceremony uniform will be revealed at the Maracana stadium on August 5th in Rio.