Please, let the Commonwealth Games begin.

Enough of the speculation and intrigue as to how this quadrennial celebration will fare.

It's time for the sport.

Over 150 New Zealanders, led by flagbearer Sophie Pascoe, marched into the opening ceremony on the Gold Coast last night.


Kiwi athletes from men's rugby sevens, swimming, cycling, weightlifting, badminton, beach volleyball, boxing, gymnastics, lawn bowls, shooting, squash, field and wrestling strode in. Some athletes chose not to march with their competitions beginning today.

It was the first time cyclist Hamish Bond had marched at an Olympic or Commonwealth Games.

"I've got a few days between the ceremony and my race in the time trial, so I figured this is a great opportunity."

Pole vaulter Olivia McTaggart came in with her weightlifting brother, Cameron.

"To be marching out there with him at my first Games is really exciting," she said.

Ghana, a country formerly known as Gold Coast, won the fashion stakes by donning a uniform resembling a kaleidoscopic backgammon board.

Rain threatened to drench the occasion early, but eventually assumed a support role as the extravaganza was unleashed on the Commonwealth world.

At times you could be forgiven for thinking you had stumbled into an Australian version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.


Rap music mixed with a didgeridoo orchestra, and one bloke appeared to be wrestling with a go-pro on the end of his instrument.

Continental drift made a cameo appearance, as did the travels of Migaloo the white whale who threaded his or her way throughout the proceedings.

Nek minnit, a stadium beach appeared with a tribute by local performers to the progression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

It was like a day at secondary school with history, geography, science, music and English lessons. At least tomorrow it will be PE.

Surf lifesaving played a significant part, with all 58 regional clubs represented.

Athletes were summoned via a local lifeguard tower and surf boat set piece.

Scotland entered first as hosts of the last Games in Glasgow with Nippers, Australia's surfing proteges, leading them through wearing rash shirts and armed with rescue boards. They trotted along to INXS' Need You Tonight. Fair enough Australian anthems were chosen, but The Proclaimers' I'm Gonna Be would have worked a treat, too.

Organisers estimated 1.5 billion people tuned in to watch an occasion which celebrated Gold Coast beach life and indigenous culture.

Guests among the 35,000-strong crowd included Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla, as well as Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Eventually the Prince delivered his mum's message to open the 21st Games for business, 2334 days since getting awarded the occasion in 2011.

Now they get their chance to shine in one of the furthest outposts of Empire.