The 17th Women's World Team Squash Championships is officially underway after last night's opening ceremony at the International Pacific College (IPC) in Palmerston North.
Players and officials from the 16 competing countries have been treated to a unique cultural experience, in a city now being dubbed the Squash Capital of New Zealand.
Blazing pois, a traditional Maori kapa haka group and a melodious performance of the New Zealand national anthem by the Manawatunes highlighted the ceremony, although the best was saved for last with the IPC drummers providing a dramatic climax to the proceedings.
The loudest applause was saved for the New Zealand quartet of Jaclyn Hawkes, Joelle King, Shelley Kitchen and Tamsyn Leevey, who strolled onto the court to the iconic New Zealand song Slice of Heaven.
The ceremony over, the players now turn their attention to the court, with the first round of pool play getting underway today 12:30pm.