South Africa captain Faf du Plessis won the toss and elected to bat in the first test against New Zealand at University Oval in Dunedin on Wednesday.
South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel was recalled after more than a year out of test cricket as he recovered from a potentially career-ending back injury.
Vernon Philander has also overcome a niggling ankle injury to share the new ball with Kagiso Rabada.
New Zealand, surprisingly included two spinners in their squad with opening bowler Tim Southee dropped.
New Zealand: Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, James Neesham, BJ Watling, Mitchell Santner, Neil Wagner, Jeetan Patel, Trent Boult.
South Africa: Stephen Cook, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis (captain), JP Duminy, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Toby Davis)