Zealand's Olympians were given a formal welcome home by hundreds in
Chef de Mission Dave Currie led 88 athletes, including 23 medal winners, as they were given a traditional Maori welcome at Pioneer Stadium in front of a noisy crowd.
Currie said: "This has been an amazing team to be part of." They were "unbelievably proud" to represent New Zealand, and London put on a "wonderful show" for the Games, he said.
He told the crowd that the team was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and passion that greeted them in Christchurch today and spoke of the "wonderful achievements" of the athletes and support they were shown.
The support from New Zealand has been fantastic, the support from Canterbury has Christchurch has been overwhelming, he said.
We felt your support, and it made a difference. Collectively we should all be very proud of what we have achieved.
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said the people of the city and the rest of Canterbury knew about adversity and thanked the athletes for giving their time to come to the city.
"We want to say, Mr Currie, to you and your wonderful team - these people who have inspired all of us, not just in Christchurch and Canterbury, but right around New Zealand - thank you for this wonderful act of generosity in giving your time to allow us, the people of Christchurch, to make this your official home-coming."
He said it was "great" to have the Olympic athletes back home.
"We just want to say that we welcome our Olympic heroes, they got to the greatest sporting competition on earth, and every single one of them represented us with great pride, with honour, and distinguished themselves and made us feel very, very proud."
"We can achieve in our city, what each of them have achieved on their individual basis."
Soldiers to be farewelled
It is an emotional time for the city with the celebrations coming just a day after the bodies of three soldiers were returned from Afghanistan.
Yesterday the bodies of Corporal Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker and Private Richard Harris were flown into the city for a ramp ceremony, where a rousing haka was performed to welcome them home.
A full memorial service will be held at Burnham Military Camp on Saturday.
"The Burnham family is the Christchurch family as far as we're concerned," said Parker.
"There's a wonderful symbolism for us in the story of our Olympic athletes, and the sacrifices, and the hard times, and the hard work that they go through, and they came out the other side and they showed us what it is to aspire and to reach for the sky.
"And that's really the story of our city at the moment - we're in that situation.
"We've gone through an incredibly difficult time and we're starting to turn that corner, and we've got some big goals to reach as well.
"So we're very grateful that the Olympians would come here and join with us today, it's a very special time for us," he said.