An estimated 60,000-70,000 people turned out to the Cricket World Cup opening ceremony in Christchurch's North Hagley park last night.
The event, featuring performances from Hayley Westenra, Ginny Blackmore, Sol3 Mio, and Shapeshifter, was broadcast to millions around the world
The ceremony was one of the biggest hosted by Christchurch since the Canterbury earthquakes, and mayor Lianne Dalziel said it showed the town was back on its feet. "I always thought 2015 would be a turning point for the city," she said.
"It just feels really good to have so many people come together to celebrate something we're doing so well in. Our cricketers are doing very well.
"It meant a lot, when the decision was made, to have the cricket in Christchurch, to make up for the fact that we lost the Rugby World Cup games. Now, we're hosting the opening night, and also the first game."
Locals and visitors to the city turned out, with many looking forward to seeing their teams playing in Christchurch and around New Zealand.
Zimbabwean cricket fan and Christchurch resident, Rain Mwedzo, was at the ceremony with his family.
"It's great for Christchurch and for the country to be hosting the event, and I'll be watching his team play as many times as I can, he said.
"On Sunday, I'll be going to Hamilton, to watch Zimbabwe play South Africa. Then I'll watch Zimbabwe play United Arab Emirates, that is in Nelson. And I'll watch Zimbabwe play India, in Eden Park in Auckland. I am going everywhere, you will see my flag with me, supporting the boys, you know."
Along with Rain Mwedzo, expatriates from Pakistan, South Africa, and Sri Lanka all said they would back the Black Caps but would always put their home countries first.
On stage, performers paid tribute to competing nations, including displays of dancing from India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and performances of bagpipe music and Irish dancing. The night's entertainment ended with a huge fireworks display.
Therese Walsh, head of the Cricket World Cup in New Zealand, said it was great that everything went smoothly.
"The thing about the night, was everyone in Christchurch wanted it to happen. Everybody was behind it.
"The crowd was enormous, everybody wanted to be here, they were happy."
In Melbourne, a crowd of 10,000 gathered to celebrate the World Cup Opening ceremony.
Popular Australian artists Jessica Mauboy, Tina Arena, and Nathaniel and Daryl Braithwaite headlined the show and all the participating countries were represented in traditional performances.
New Zealand's opening game between the Black Caps and Sri Lanka starts at 11am tomorrow at the Hagley Oval. In Australia, the Melbourne Cricket Ground will host Australia and England on Saturday afternoon.