Scott McLeod will replace Wayne Smith as All Blacks coach Steve Hansen's new assistant, New Zealand Rugby said on Saturday
The 10-Test former All Black will look after defence for the All Blacks, taking over from Smith, who leaves the team at the end of the Rugby Championship.
Smith announced last month that he will take a break from October to consider his future, ending an international coaching involvement that began in 1998.
McLeod said he was honoured and excited to be given the opportunity.
"To work with the All Blacks in pinnacle events will be both challenging and rewarding," the 44-year-old said.
McLeod, who played 69 games for Waikato and 45 matches for the Chiefs, has also served as assistant coach for both teams.
He coached New Zealand under-20 in 2012 before joining the Highlanders as assistant coach in 2013.
"Having worked in Super Rugby for the last eight years with some of New Zealand's top rugby talent, I was highly motivated to continue that, but at a higher level," McLeod said.
Hansen said McLeod was a valuable acquisition for the All Blacks.
"He's done a great job with the Highlanders, he has a passion for coaching defence, and he's demonstrated over a number of seasons that he has the skillset, temperament and qualities that we're looking for," Hansen said.