Sonny Bill Williams looked at home on debut as the defending champion All Blacks Sevens booked a place in the quarter-final of the world series tournament.
New Zealand were one of seven nations to guarantee a quarter-final spot after two rounds of pool play in Wellington, brushing aside Russia 38-7 and Scotland 27-7.
Australia are through to the top eight after their under-strength side beat relative lightweights Portugal and Canada.
They came from 12-0 down at halftime against the Europeans to win 19-12 then held off a late Canadian charge to win 26-22.
A fascinating final pool game looms later on Saturday against South Africa, who crushed Russia 54-0 and Scotland 27-7.
All eyes were on cross-code star Williams, who has committed to sevens in 2016 in pursuit of a place at the Olympic Games in Rio.
He scored a try with his only touch against Russia, having come off the bench in the middle of the second half.
Williams started against Scotland and unleashed a relatively low-key but error-free display.
The 30-year-old defended tirelessly, produced two trademark offloads and his final touch before being replaced after halftime was a ruck turnover that led to a try.
New Zealand are in sixth place after injuries stymied their performances in the first two tournaments in Dubai and Cape Town in December.
Fiji were the other impressive performers on day one. The world series defending champions outclassed Japan 45-7 and Wales 33-7. Unbeaten in the same pool are Argentina.
The most interest surrounds pool C, where England beat France 17-14 and the United States 19-5 to secure advancement.
France and the US both beat Samoa and will square off later on Saturday to determine the final quarter-finalist.