Richie McCaw escorts Queen's Baton into quake-hit Kaikōura

The Queen's Baton has stopped in Kaikōura as part of a 388-day relay around the world to promote the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. 

He may have called the All Blacks' shots, but on Tuesday Richie McCaw was the Queen's messenger boy. 

The rugby player traded ball for baton and his part in a 230,000km journey around the world. 

He did his bit, of course, in trademark style - by helicopter.

The Queen's Baton carries a message within from Her Majesty to be read at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next April.

It will travel across 70 countries with the aim of inspiring youth athletes across the globe. 

The New Zealand leg will feature appearances from Commonwealth greats, including shot put star Valerie Adams, runner Sir John Walker and much loved weightlifter Precious McKenzie.

In Kaikōura, former Commonwealth Games hockey player Gemma McCaw was the star.

The event was a big boost for the quake-hit town, with 200 Kaikōura residents there to meet them. 

Then it was time for lift-off, the baton heading off to its next stop in Christchurch, then Auckland and on to Australia.