The Hurricanes have fortified their forward stocks with the addition of towering former All Black Dominic Bird for next year's Super Rugby competition.
The 30-year-old two-test international is returning from a successful stint in France with Top 14 side Racing Metro, where he's made 70 appearances since his move north in 2018.
He'll also feature for Wellington in this year's National Provincial Championship, having previously made over 50 appearances for Canterbury.
The 206cm lock holds the record of the tallest All Black ever, standing 1cm above previous holder Mark Cooskley when he made his debut against Japan in 2013.
He earned another cap one year later, starting against Scotland during the annual year-end European tour.
Before heading to France, Bird spent three seasons apiece with firstly the Crusaders (2013-15) and then the Chiefs (2016-18).
"I'm excited to be getting back into Super Rugby next year and returning to New Zealand with my family to live," Bird says.
"We've enjoyed our time with Racing Metro in France, and I feel like I've been playing some of my best rugby up there, but now is the right time to return home.
"I'm looking forward to testing myself again in Super Rugby and adding huge value to the Hurricanes in 2022."
Hurricanes coach Jason Holland believes Bird can add plenty to his squad, particularly with his veteran leadership.
"We're really looking forward to seeing Dom turn up and show his experience for the Wellington Lions before he comes into our group," Holland says.
"Speaking with him, we know how much he wants to prove himself again in NZ rugby and you can't beat the sort of experience he will bring to us.
"He's a big man who has shown he can match it with some of the toughest forwards in a really challenging competition and we think he will bring real value to the club."
Join us at 7pm Saturday for live updates of the Super Rugby Aotearoa final between Crusaders v Chiefs