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Members of the Arrowtown School kapa haka group welcomed the athletes, their support crews and supporters with a waiata and haka.
A Maori ceremony call, involving a conch shell made for the Games, sounded as Queenstown Alpine Ski Team members glided down the skifield bearing flags from all 39 nations competing at the Games.
About 940 athletes will compete in eight sports during the next two weeks.
Events will be held across Otago, at the Maniototo International Curling Rink (Naseby), Treble Cone, Cardrona Alpine Resort, The Remarkables, Coronet Peak and the Queenstown Ice Arena.
Winter Games chairman Sir Eion Edgar told the crowd this was the biggest Games in the event's 10 year history.
Mr Boult thanked Winter Games chief executive Arthur Klap and his team for their work behind the scenes to make the event such a success.
Prime Minister Bill English said the Winter Games was a ``fantastic'' event which had been created out of nothing and was now taking New Zealand to the world.
- Tim Miller