The Queen's Baton Relay has started in New Zealand and it was carried by canoe as it arrived in Gisborne ©Getty Images

The Queen's Baton has paid a visit to the Women's Cricket World Cup as it continues its journey across New Zealand as part of the build-up to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

It began its journey across the country on the coast at Gisborne in the North Island with a traditional welcome at a Maori meeting house.

New Zealand athletes and Birmingham 2022 Chef de Mission Nigel Avery were among those who attended the "Powhiri", a ceremony held at sunrise.

Later, it was carried in a traditional waka or canoe.

Athens 2004 Olympian road cyclist Michelle Rennie, a local to the area, was among those who carried the Baton during its trip around Gisbourne.

"I competed at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games and it was an amazing experience to be part of the Games and part of the New Zealand team," Rennie said.

"A lot of hard work and dedication goes into the Commonwealth Games and I wish all the best to the athletes who’ll represent us there this year,"

Rennie was joined by judoka Mellissa Jones, a competitor the last time the Games were held in England 20 years ago in Manchester.

New Zealand's Commonwealth Games netball medallist Van Dyk shows the Queen's Baton to young admirers in Nelson ©Getty Images
New Zealand's Commonwealth Games netball medallist Van Dyk shows the Queen's Baton to young admirers in Nelson ©Getty Images

"We are thrilled to to have the Queen’s Baton in New Zealand ahead of Birmingham 2022," Kereyn Smith, the former chief executive of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, said.

“It brings a great focus to what is set to be a fantastic celebration of sport, friendship and culture.

"We are honoured to share our culture with people of the Commonwealth through the Queen's Baton Relay,"

New Zealand has hosted the Games on three occasions, but not since 1990 in Auckland.

In Napier, the Baton was carried by double netball gold medallist Irene Van Dyk, who took the opportunity to show it to local youngsters.

She was joined by hockey player Emily Gaddum, a Commonwealth Games silver medallist at Delhi 2010 and bronze at Glasgow 2014.

In Wellington, the Baton was taken to the Pukaha wildlife park and also to the Basin Reserve Cricket Ground where Australia beat New Zealand in the Women's Cricket World Cup.

Women's cricket is due to make its debut on the Commonwealth Games programme at Birmingham 2022. 

The Queen's Baton is due to stay in New Zealand until tomorrow before departing for Australia. 

It had arrived from the Norfolk Islands where it visited all the sports clubs on the islands. 

The final stop was at the Norfolk Islands Bowls Club.

There, the Baton was carried by veteran player Elton Graham. 

Alongside him was Ellie Dixon, introduced to the sport aged only 12, by her 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist father Ryan.

His medal had come in men’s triples alongside Hadyn Evans who also carried the Baton during its visit.

The Norfolk Islands have named a team of 14 for Birmingham 2022 which will be led by Chef de Mission Sheryl Yelavich.

In the Cook Islands, double Olympian weightlifter Luisa Peters was a Baton Bearer.

After competing in three Commonwealth Games, she has turned to coaching.

She was joined by her protégé Manine Lynch, who will represent the Islands at Birmingham 2022.

The Baton had been welcomed by Sir Peter Marsters, the Queen’s Representative. and his wife Lady Tuaine in a special ceremony at the official residence in Titikaveka.

A special church service was also held at the Takuvaine Arepua Assembly of God to coincide with the arrival of the Baton.

It also visited the Punanga Nui Market, which claims to be "the original, most vibrant market in the Cook Islands".

"Due to the COVID pandemic the Baton will not be doing its traditional relay around the island, but instead will be taken on various activities to showcase the beautiful people and culture of the Cook Islands,” Sports and National Olympic Committee acting secretary general Joryna Pokura had said.

Many of the Baton Bearers wore traditional garlands of flowers as they took part in the Relay.