The back-to-back world champions hammered their opponents 54-34 in Sydney to kick off their campaign in style, bagging eight tries in all.
New Zealand particularly impressed in the first half, storming 40-6 ahead before the interval thanks to three scores in the space of seven minutes.
Speaking after the match, Kiwis skipper Read is quoted by BBC Sport as saying: "It was pretty surreal that first half, to be honest. We came here to play our game and it really came off.
"It was a pretty awesome first half. It came about by the doing the simple things. We carried really hard and exploited a few gaps out wide."
South Africa, who face New Zealand next Saturday, picked up a 37-15 win over Argentina in the other match.