All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara will head offshore next year to play for the Red Hurricanes club in the Japan Top League.
The 28-year will miss the Super Rugby Aotearoa season, but will return for the All Blacks test campaign.
Perenara is contracted to NZ Rugby until the end of the 2021 season.
Perenara will join former Highlanders folk hero Marty Banks at the Japanese club.
"I just wanted to send a massive shout out to all the Hurricanes fans back here in New Zealand," Perenara says.
"Over the last 10 years, I have gone to work everyday to put on a show for you guys and make sure the product we put out on the field is something you all enjoy.
"This is not the end of my time in New Zealand, but I am looking forward to an exciting challenge with the Red Hurricanes over in Japan - a new team, a new group of players and a new coaching group.
"I'm really excited about that adventure for myself and my family, and it's something we are really looking forward to.
"To all the Red Hurricanes fans, I'm looking forward to putting on a show for your club."
The combative No.9 has played 140 games for his beloved Hurricanes and was a key part of the victorious Super Rugby campaign in 2016.
NZ Rugby professional rugby & performance general manager Chris Lendrum says Perenara's move is a logical one at this point in his career.
“TJ has been a long-standing and loyal player for New Zealand Rugby for a decade now, and so the opportunity for him to have a break from playing here to have the experience of playing in Japan is a positive for him and his family," Lendrum says.
"We wish him and his wife Greer all the very best, and will welcome him back when he returns.”
Lendrum says NZR will start contract extension discussions with Perenara’s management in due course.
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